The modern world has become aware of the potential benefits that come with many types of therapies. From chiropractic care to counseling for mental health, therapy has come to command a strong reputation as a viable solution to addressing the challenges of life. However, while a therapist may offer a solution to physical and mental duress, it hardly does much to positively address the state of our finances. In fact, it does quite the opposite.
Frankly put, therapy can be expensive. Due to the Affordable Care Act, more Americans have health insurance than ever before. However, due to a general lack of knowledge about the specifics of insurance policies, medical debt still keeps many of us from seeking care when we truly need it. Over half of the country fears this debt as much as health issues themselves, leading many of us to avoid doing what is best for our well-being.
Of course, fear shouldn’t keep you from protecting your health. That’s why it’s important that you do your homework and make sure you understand all of your options. This helps to ensure that you’re receiving both the best and most affordable care possible. Here are some of the ways that you can go about making sure to keep your therapy costs to a minimum.
1. Keep It In-Network
If you or a loved one are navigating the often confusing waters of finding a therapist, it’s important that you understand how medical insurance plays into the picture. Making decisions without knowledge of whether your insurance will cover the costs can lead to some extremely unpleasant fees falling into your lap when all is said and done. Make sure to do your homework.
The first thing to figure out is what options you have in-network. If a provider is within the network of coverage that your insurance will cover, your costs should be kept to a minimum. If they are out of network, which means your insurance provider does not have an agreement or contract with the medical professional, you could end up shouldering the bulk of the costs.
2. The Deductible Factor
Even if a provider is in-network, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. Next, check to see if you have a deductible on your specific policy, as these can often be hundreds and even thousands of dollars. A deductible is the amount of money that must be spent before the insurance company will begin to pay for their portion of the service. In other words, even if a certain therapist is covered by your insurance, you’ll still need to spend your deductible before the insurance company begins to pick up the bulk of the tab.
3. The Other Hidden Costs
Deductibles aside, you’re also going to want to take a look at any copayments or coinsurances that may apply to a therapist visit. A copayment is a fixed amount that must be paid towards each visit, while coinsurance is a percentage of the bill that the patient must pay. Even if you reach your deductible, you will still need to pay for these until you reach your out-of-pocket maximum. This is, as the name implies, the maximum amount of money that a patient can spend on in-network services within any given year before all of their medical costs are covered.
While the complexities of insurance are as real as they are infamous, breaking down the details and getting into the nitty-gritty of your specific policy should be a critical part of your initial decision on which therapist to visit. There are many potential costs after your insurance processes your claim, so keep informed of the specific details of your insurance policy.
4. Look for That Sliding Fee Scale
Another option to keep an eye out for is a sliding scale. Some therapists will offer different rates to different clients depending on the resources they have at their disposal. If you are strapped for cash, a sliding scale could help lower your rates significantly. If your income falls below the federal poverty level, you may only have to pay a fraction of what you would pay otherwise.
5. Spiritual Counseling
Whether you’re a person of faith or not, studies have shown how much spirituality plays a role in effective social work, and that includes therapy. In fact, going with a spiritual approach can be an excellent way to address the deeper struggles that accompany mental health and wellness. In addition to the natural way that spiritual counseling can help, it also tends to be a much more affordable option. Though it often lacks the more formal and structured approach of organized, medical therapy, it can prove to be an effective way to address therapeutic needs while maintaining a budget.
Doing Your Homework
While there are many different ways to keep therapy affordable, the most important thing is to take your time making the decision. Hastily signing up for a series of sessions from the best (and most expensive) therapist in town in the name of your health can quickly backfire when the stress of those inflated bills start showing up on your doorstep. Taking the time to understand your specific medical insurance’s coverage and limitations, as well as other options like sliding fee scales and spiritual counseling, can help you find that perfect compromise of affordability and quality, enabling you or your loved ones to gain access to the therapy you’re looking for.
Of course, affordability is only part of the equation. Make sure to keep other factors, like your own availability or the reputation of each therapist, in mind as well. By being diligent when preparing to receive therapy, you can keep your mind, body, and finances healthy.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
Author Bio: Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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