“Times have changed” is a phrase that has been used throughout the ages to indicate that nothing ever really stays the same. To initiate seeing a counselor can sometimes seem quite daunting. Who does one call? “Do I really need a counselor? Maybe things will just get better with time. I wouldn’t really have a problem if it wasn’t for ________________. How much will it cost?” Previous blogs at MCS have addressed some of these questions. This blog will address issues around cost of seeking a counselor.
Will my insurance pay?
New healthcare laws came into effect with 2014, and many were confused about their coverage. For many, however, the new laws caused them to look into what type of health insurance coverage they really have. For years, many health insurance companies declined to offer coverage for mental health/behavioral health matters at all. Federal law, passed in 2008, known as the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) during George W. Bush administration, superseded prior laws that were less effective.
With what has now become known as Obamacare, however, consumers are realizing that their insurance companies have some significant deductibles, co-pays, in-and-out of network provisions, as well as increased premiums on their policies. Even though our economy has been trying to rebound, it is still challenging for many families to stretch the budget, particularly the healthcare related dollars.
Seeing a therapist, while it does have cost, relatively speaking is not expensive. Where there is insurance, there may be a co-pay, there may be full payment expected at time of service with subsequent insurance reimbursement.
Sometimes an Employee Assistance Plan will connect employee with a counselor and pay for a limited number of sessions. Some churches will underwrite a portion, or all of counseling services provided to their members. Many counseling practices will also help by providing discounts for services.
Not only are there individual sessions which is the more typical client/counselor scenario, there can be sessions for couples, families, and group sessions. Retreats and workshops are additional services that can help stretch consumer dollars for cost efficiency.
It can actually be more costly not to pursue counseling. Addictive issues can grow without intervention, resulting in loss of job, family, home, and life. Legal issues can be costly. Marriages that could be saved by counseling may go into costly divorce proceedings. Anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, and other mood disorders affect all areas of life quality and can be devastating without treatment.
When considering whether or not counseling is affordable, the key question might be; “Can I afford not to?”
Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Miller Counseling Services. He has practiced in a variety of behavioral health settings in the Triangle area of North Carolina since 1981, including innovative approaches to substance abuse and chronic pain management, crisis intervention, as well as working with relationship issues with couples and families. Areas of interest, and expertise include: mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, substance abuse education/screening/outpatient follow-up, ADD/ADHD, relationship/premarital/marital counseling along with co-therapy, stress/pain management including biofeedback modality, life transition issues especially with college students as well as older adults, adolescent counseling.