Can't Afford Therapy
20-something miseries, mental health

Mental Health Monday: How to Get Into Therapy When You Can’t Afford It

The number one reason people tell me they aren’t in therapy is because they can’t afford it. I’ve definitely been in this position myself, but I’m happy to report that there are ways to get access to therapy even on a seriously restricted budget.

Most people think that the best way to save money on healthcare is through insurance. Sadly, insurance is in an absolutely dismal state in our country, so this isn’t always the case. For instance, United Healthcare’s agreed upon rate that they deem fair to charge clients for a one-hour session is $109. For this reason, most therapists do 45-minute sessions, which cost $71 instead. In order for therapy to be effective, you really need to go at least twice a month (at least in my experience), which means even if you have insurance and you opt for the shorter session, you’re still spending $140/month on therapy. That’s just not doable for a lot of people, myself included. But if that’s the price with insurance, surely there are no options outside of insurance, right?

Wrong! There are so many other ways to access therapy, and some of them are even more affordable than through insurance. If you don’t have private insurance, there are many clinics that only take clients with Medicaid/Medicare or who are completely uninsured. If you are insured but those insurance rates are just way too high, you can try these three other options:

  1. Employee-Assistance Program (EAP): Employee-assistance is a work program that provides free counseling. Yes, you read that correctly, EAP counseling is absolutely free. It’s often short-term only, and not all employers offer EAP, but it’s definitely something worth looking into. Plus, they typically offer phone or Skype sessions, which is great for social distancing.
  2. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC): These health centers have been approved to offer discounted counseling services to those who are uninsured or underinsured. All you have to do is give them a call to see if you qualify.
  3. Sliding-Scale Therapists: Finally, you can always look for therapists who charge on an income-based sliding scale rather than going through insurance.

If any of these options sound viable to you, then I highly encourage you to check out my latest HealthyPlace post, 3 Ways to Access Therapy If You Can’t Afford It. If you found this helpful, please share this on social media so your friends and family can get the therapy they need as well, without having to sacrifice an unsustainable portion of their income.

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