Even if you carry insurance through your employer, mental health care claims are not always covered. Unlike other treatments, mental health treatments can take the form of therapy sessions. The number and frequency of meetings vary depending on the patient, and it can be difficult to get an insurance company to approve them.
Whether you have employer-sponsored health insurance or pay out of pocket, there are several options available to assist you in getting the care you need at an affordable rate.
You may be eligible for your state’s Medicaid program depending on your income even if you carry a primary insurance through your employer. If approved, Medicaid will act as your secondary insurance to cover remaining costs or services not covered by your insurance, including mental health services. It’s the largest payer for these services in the country. You can contact your local Department of Health and Human Resources to see if you qualify.
If you don’t qualify for state Medicaid or you would like to look at a wider variety of options, you can look at the plans from the Affordable Healthcare Act on healthcare.gov. The site matches you up with health insurance plans and premiums based on your income. You’ll need to confirm that the companies do cover mental health services before enrolling.
Medi-Share is a Christian ministry that works on the crowdsourcing model to satisfy medical expenses for members. Members pay a monthly fee that disburses to other members’ eligible bills. This monthly fee is based on the number of people you are applying for as well as the oldest person’s age. Your monthly fee may be lower if you are in good health.
Many communities offer income-based clinics, usually for low-income families, and charge a sliding-scale fee for services. You can also look into training clinics run by universities and supervised by licensed professionals. An advanced graduate student working on their Doctorate or Master’s degree program from the psychology department provides low-cost, but high-quality services.
University Student Programs
On-campus mental health programs are seeing more students seeking help with anxiety and depression. These programs offer a confidential place for students to acquire treatment and learn how to cope with debilitating anxiety attacks. The programs may be a student’s first opportunity to get the counseling sessions they need.
Not all therapy sessions need to be one-on-one. You can find support groups and organizations throughout the country that provide resources. These do not take the place of a licensed professional but can provide you with information and a network of support. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) organizations each have in-person and online support groups.
Due to issues with billing mental health care claims, clinics and offices may offer deferred payment plans to regular patients. These can be on a sliding-scale basis or a flat rate for each visit. Insurance coverage also changes with the implementation of new policies, so have the office check periodically.
Pharmaceutical Company Programs
Patients diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions may require medications to function. These prescriptions can be expensive, but some pharmaceutical companies offer programs to make treatment affordable. Your local pharmacy may also provide a program that reduces the cost of generic medications.
With as many as 42.5 million Americans suffering from mental illness, the ability to secure treatment when needed and the access to quality healthcare is critical. Don’t let the lack of insurance coverage stop you from getting the help you deserve.
Anum Yoon is a personal finance blogger and writer. She created and maintains her personal finance blog Current on Currency. You can subscribe to her blog newsletter right here for her weekly updates.