Are you among those individuals who are on the fence regarding therapy? Do you find yourself pondering over questions like, "Does therapy cost money," "What is the cost of treatment without insurance," and "How much does therapy cost out-of-pocket?". We are here to assist you in answering these questions, finding a financial solution, and removing any barriers to participation.
If financial strains have you debating whether or not to seek treatment, you’re one of the millions of people in the United States who are dealing with this dilemma. We answer some of your questions concerning treatment fees in this post, which may have delayed you from getting the help you need. Costs should not prevent you from receiving the assistance and services you require.
Let’s quickly begin by addressing the questions, “What is therapy?” and “How much does therapy with insurance cost?”
What is therapy?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, therapy is “a means to help persons with many mental diseases and emotional challenges” (APA). Therapy comes in various forms, depending on the diagnosis and treatment modalities used. Still, at its core, therapy is a treatment for mental illnesses ranging from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that aims to help the person improve daily functioning hampered by their condition.
How much does therapy cost?
The cost of seeing a psychologist varies depending on where you reside and the type of care you require. A single session may cost between $100 and $200 in most locations of the United States. Expect to pay more if you reside in a big city, says Gray Otis, a Utah licensed professional mental health counselor. “It can cost anything from $150 to $250 or more in New York City.”
The price will also be determined by the sort of practitioner you visit. While a psychologist can assist you with various mental health issues, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication for mental problems, so they will typically charge more. An initial consultation with a psychiatrist can cost between $300 and $500, with subsequent appointments costing between $100 and $200.
Does insurance cover therapy?
Insurance plans are required to cover mental health services under the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act also stipulates that insurance companies cannot have different regulations for funding and treating mental health care. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
- All therapists don’t accept insurance, and some only accept particular types of insurance.
- Insurance may also only cover a particular amount of sessions or only pay for certain forms of treatment.
- Even if your insurance covers mental health care, you will almost always have to pay a copay, which is a portion of the therapist’s price that you must pay out of pocket. These copayments might range from $10 for each appointment to as much as $50 or more for every visit.
- While the Cheap Care Act (ACA) made mental health care more affordable and accessible, many people still struggle to find the care they require at a reasonable cost.
- “Although Mental Health Parity is the law in the current insurance climate, insurers frequently use their own non-research and non-clinically based medical necessity guidelines. They do so to subvert it and limit access to appropriate psychotherapeutic treatments,” Susan G. Lazar wrote in a review published in the journal Psychodynamic Psychiatry.
- Therapists were the least likely of all health providers to accept insurance, according to a 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Only about 55% of psychiatrists accept insurance, compared to 89% of other medical providers.
How much therapy costs with insurance
Insurance-assisted therapy is also known as in-network or out-of-network therapy. In other words, some businesses are in-network with your insurance provider, while others are not. Fortunately, most insurance companies are aware that not all therapists are compatible. However, if your therapy is covered by insurance, you must be mindful of a few things. Deductibles, percentage reimbursement, permitted amount, and other terms you should be familiar with are examples of what you should know.
Deductibles are the amounts you must pay before you begin to receive the benefits of your insurance policy. If you can meet your deductible or spend a sum equal to your deductible, you can start to enjoy the benefits of your insurance. For example, if your deductible is $1,500, you’ll have to pay $1,500 out of pocket before you can use your out-of-network treatment coverage. As a result, if a therapy costs $150 per session, you should commit to 10 sessions before seeing results.
All major health insurance companies must give equal coverage options for mental health and medical health care, according to a 2008 government rule. With a population of almost 20 million adults, it should be no surprise that the United States is dealing with mental health concerns and a shortage of mental health services.
As part of their health plan, people with mental health insurance are entitled to mental health-related treatments, such as assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness and mental health-related illnesses.
Mental illnesses are individual or combined mental health disorders that impair emotion, thinking behavior, and daily functioning. People with mental illness-related concerns may face the effects of compounding negative symptoms if they do not receive sufficient treatment and support.
A person is labeled mentally unwell if they suffer from one or more mental health concerns that interfere with their daily activities. Individuals, couples, and families can be devastated by debilitating mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder.
While these diseases are considered mild and don’t usually necessitate emergency treatment, they often necessitate close monitoring, therapy, and medication management to alleviate the impact of living with the symptoms that these mental health conditions create.
More serious illnesses, such as schizophrenia and those requiring in-patient treatment, necessitate a higher and more extended level of care than their milder equivalents. For those
who have insurance who are suffering from mild, moderate, or severe mental health disorders, health insurance plans must provide affordable coverage, copays, and reduced out-of-pocket payments.
Medicaid is also obligated to follow the federal parity act of 2008 in most US states. As previously noted, the act mandates that mental health treatment services be inexpensive and accessible to all citizens of the United States and regarded for the public benefit. The quantity of insurance coverage varies depending on the insurance company. Contact your insurance carrier directly to learn about your projected copay, annual out-of-pocket maximums, and approved services. Let’s look at how much treatment costs without health insurance now that we’ve given you an idea of how much therapy costs with health insurance.
What is the cost of therapy without insurance?
Visiting a therapist in any capacity was considered a luxury that most people couldn’t afford before the days of mental health campaigners and mental health awareness campaigns. Out-of-pocket therapy fees today range from $65.00 to $200.00 each session, making it accessible for most working families.
When you examine the costs of living in a fog and how much therapy used to cost, you can see that this range can serve a more significant portion of the US population.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t less expensive therapy options available. In truth, there are a few options for sliding-scale, reduced, low-cost, or even free counseling. Online therapy is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to receive low-cost treatment.
Leading online therapy platforms, such as BetterHelp.com, offer low-cost therapy at an affordable price.
BetterHelp’s online therapy sessions start at $40.00 per week for unlimited messaging sessions with a licensed and board-certified therapist in your state. Therapy used to be seen as a luxury, prohibiting most people from taking better care of their mental health. The availability of low-cost solutions is fantastic news for most families, who can now afford to participate in therapy.
Why does therapy cost so much?
Beyond the treatment of individuals, the cost of mental health treatments is high. While a master’s degree is required for entry, many therapists pursue doctorates, medical degrees, and other special qualifications. “Maintaining a license comes with a lot of costs, including continuous education obligations,” Otis explains.
“Of course, whether you practice alone or with others, you have business costs,” he says, which can include things like office rent, insurance, and employee compensation.
Factors that impact cost
There are a variety of other factors that can affect the cost of therapy. Here are a few examples:
Due to the increased cost of living in large metropolitan regions such as New York City and Los Angeles, therapists operating in those locations often charge more.
- Therapist training: Therapists with a lot of experience and training usually charge more per hour and per session. A private practice psychiatrist with several years of experience, for example, will charge more than a social worker with only a few years of expertise.
- Type of therapy: The type of treatment or therapist expertise can have an impact on cost. Treatments that are highly specialized or difficult may be more expensive.
- Therapist reputation: The reputation of a therapist or facility might also have an impact.
How to pay for therapy
It is frequently the best option to pay for therapy services if you have health insurance. To discover more about your coverage, start by contacting your insurance provider.
In addition, you should ask for a list of in-network providers. Going to an out-of-network practitioner is generally more expensive than working with professionals in your insurance company’s network.
Check to determine if you qualify for your state’s Medicaid program if you don’t have health insurance through your workplace or the exchange marketplace.
If you do not have insurance and intend to pay for your therapy out of pocket, be careful to discuss fees and your treatment plan with your therapist before starting therapy. Your therapist should be able to give you an estimate of how much your therapy will cost and how long it will take. If your money is restricted, you may want to concentrate on achieving a specific objective over a set number of sessions.
Some therapists charge on a sliding-scale basis, which varies depending on your income. Lower-income individuals may be able to pay a lower per-session or per-hour charge, making therapy more accessible.
Free or low-cost options
If you can’t afford counseling, there are other options and resources that may be of assistance. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Check with local colleges or universities
Many schools have clinics where students pursuing a career as a mental health practitioner can work to earn the hours required to become fully licensed. These clinics may provide treatment for free or at a minimal cost.
- Contact your local health department
Your health department may be able to refer you to a community treatment provider or other low-cost or no-cost options in your region.
- Look for a supplier who offers sliding scale pricing
Many internet directories allow you to narrow your search to providers who offer sliding scale pricing. You could also look at the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, which is a network of clinicians with session fees ranging from $30 to $80.
- Consider online options
Online counseling is a terrific alternative for a variety of reasons, including convenience and accessibility, but it is also often less expensive than traditional in-person therapy. Some internet therapists charge a set weekly or monthly fee. While internet therapy isn’t suited for everyone—for example, people with major mental diseases like schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—research suggests that in many circumstances, it can be just as helpful as in-person counseling.
How to receive affordable therapy
We wish to defend exceptional mental health providers from charges that they are overcharging, but we do believe that therapy is, on average, excessively expensive. Overpricing is a systemic problem, but there are methods to work around it so you can afford your treatment appointments.
- Online therapy
We want to safeguard great mental health professionals from accusations of overcharging, but we believe therapy is, on average, too expensive. Overpricing is a widespread issue, but there are ways to go around it so you can keep your treatment appointments.
- Ask the therapist for a discount or look for therapists with sliding scales
The majority of therapists do not work for a living. If you explain that you can only afford a reduced rate, they may agree to a sliding scale.
There are other therapists that accept payments on a sliding scale. Check their website, treatment network, or profile for this information before starting sessions.
- Schools or universities often offer discounted or free therapy
Some pupils do not have access to the mental health services they require. If you’re a student looking for free or cheap counseling, contact your student health center for further information, as colleges frequently offer free therapy for a semester or quarter. It’s a good temporary fix until you can locate a long-term therapist online or in your neighborhood.
- Therapy practices tend to be more affordable
Because more than one individual is pitching in for the extra rent, therapy practices, also known as agencies or businesses, are frequently cheaper. Interns at these practices frequently charge even less for mental health services.
- Not using health insurance might save you money
People frequently use health insurance to pay for therapy because they believe it will reduce the overall cost. In fact, avoiding insurance may be less expensive in the long run, especially if you use online therapy networks. Many therapists refuse to take insurance because they believe the cost of dealing with opaque insurance firms is too high.
- Federally-funded health centers often have mental health resources
Federally qualified health centers [FQHCs] usually have mental health resources, and the law requires they offer a sliding payment scale.
What to look for in a therapist
When looking for the greatest fit for your therapy, the most important thing to remember is your goals—what do you want to achieve once the series of therapy sessions is completed? Do you want to learn and use behavioral tactics to help you overcome stress, overeating, or rage; do you want to process your grief in a healthy way; do you and your spouse need to learn and implement wonderful communication tools that you will be held accountable to use?
When seeking mental health treatment or online therapy, keep the following in mind:
- The therapist’s level of training
Highly skilled therapists would often charge more per session. A therapist’s reputation is generally linked to their level of training and experience, especially for those who have created a successful practice. If a therapist’s time is in high demand, they might charge extra.
- Your therapist’s geographical location
Large cities are frequently linked with greater living costs, and as a result, therapists in large cities and towns charge more per session than those in smaller cities and towns. Because there are no physical limitations, online treatment may be less expensive.
- Whether your insurance policy covers treatment services
- The level of detail you’re looking for
For instance, if you want to address a very particular disease that necessitates the services of a specialist in that field, you may have to spend extra — especially if you’re trying to treat a unique condition that is difficult to treat well.
Questions to ask a therapist
When evaluating different therapists, here are questions to ask to help you on your journey.
- What’s your approach to helping me with my issue(s)?
- How much experience do you have with my issue?
- Which state licenses do you hold?
- What has been your success rate with past clients with this issue?
- Are you directive during a session or more of a guide?
- What homework do you give between sessions?
- Will you see me if I run into problems between sessions?
- Will you always be ready to start a session on time, and if we don’t, can I recoup the lost minutes at a later date?
- What is your perspective on my issue?
- Can we do a paid test run for two or three sessions to ensure a proper fit?
How do I get health insurance to help pay for therapy costs?
Mental health care must be as accessible and cheap as regular medical health insurance, according to the federal mental health parity act of 2008. The act includes unique provisions that compel firms with more than 50 employees to provide medical and mental health insurance coverage at a reasonable cost to their employees.
If you work for a company with more than 50 workers, contact your health insurance benefits manager or human resources department to learn more about your coverage options. Applying for private health insurance benefits through your state’s online health marketplace is another option for obtaining mental health insurance.
You can use online health marketplaces to see if you qualify for free or low-cost mental health care coverage. The online health marketplace for your state is where you apply for Medicaid and other state-based programs that provide free and income-based health insurance coverage for persons seeking sliding scale or free medical or mental health care.
Beat the fees and get the help you deserve
People should understand that living a better, mentally healthier life is a viable option for everyone, not just the wealthy. It will set you back a bit more than your Netflix subscription, but the joy it will bring you will be incalculable.
The cost of therapy might range from extremely low to very high. While many people have insurance benefits that can help pay for therapy, not everyone is covered by insurance, and other therapists simply do not accept this method of payment.
Start by checking with your insurance provider, searching online to see how much therapy might cost in your region, and looking into lower-cost choices if you need to pay for therapy. Therapy is an investment that can help you enhance your ability to function and your overall well-being. Consider the usefulness and long-term advantages of therapy as you balance the costs.