Does Insurance Cover Therapy For Mental Health Care?
For some, the stigma associated with mental illness keeps them from seeking help, but others may be avoiding treatment simply because they are unsure of whether they can afford it or whether their health insurance covers it.
One of the first things people think of when thinking about having therapy is How much does it cost? For some this isn’t an issue but for many it’s a luxury they can’t afford. The good news is -- that mental health care is becoming just as affordable as life insurance and home insurance. But this does differ in country to country so do your homework before choosing your plan.
Mental Health Parity Law
Historically, mental health coverage had been treated as a less important health concern than medical coverage by the insurance industry. That has changed over the years, culminating with the passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008. Also referred to as the mental health parity law, the act essentially mandates mental health and substance abuse coverage to be comparable to physical health coverage.
Depending on the specifics of your policy, and whether similar medical treatments are covered, your mental health coverage can include: emergency room visits, hospital stays, individual and group therapy appointments, psychiatrist visits and coverage for mental health prescriptions.
Finding a therapist is a huge step in taking charge of your mental health. But unlike a cold or the flu, mental illnesses — like anxiety and depression — can take some time to heal.
Studies have shown that most people in therapy remain in treatment for 5-10 sessions, and meet with their counselors weekly. What this means is that therapy is a commitment, and depending on your health insurance coverage, it can be costly.
Health insurance was once considered a bit of a luxury. People with tight budgets and low-paying jobs may not have had the extra cash they needed in order to buy expensive health care plans, so they tried to save up enough money to allow them to get care for problems deemed life-threatening. Anything else went unaddressed. Often, that meant addictions went untreated. For people without health insurance, getting medical care for addiction was just too expensive to consider
There are many options available for paying for mental health treatment. What's covered and what health insurance doesn't cover can be confusing at first.
Please keep in mind that you can always contact your health insurance provider directly if you have questions about what your health insurance plans cover.
To learn how your health insurance coverage applies to mental health treatment, read the summary of your policy. The description of benefits should include information on behavioral health services or coverage for mental health and substance-use disorders.
If it doesn't appear that you are covered for mental health issues, contact your insurer to be certain.