When many people decide to get marriage counseling, their first question is often “Is marriage counseling covered by insurance?” The answer to this question depends on the type of insurance coverage you have, any mental health issues you may have, the professional you see, and a few other factors. In some cases, your insurance may cover marriage counseling. In other cases, your insurance may cover some sessions with a marriage counselor, but it may not cover all of the sessions that you need. There is also a chance your insurer might refuse to cover any marriage counseling. Luckily, if you do not have adequate marriage counseling insurance, there are things you can do to offset the cost of marriage counseling.
Determining Whether or Not Your Insurance Policy Covers Marriage Counseling
There are a couple of different avenues you might want to explore to determine whether or not your insurance policy covers marital counseling. Before scheduling a session, talk with the counselor you are planning to see, and ask him about the insurance policies accepted by his practice. If the counselor does not accept your particular insurer, he may be able to recommend a counselor who does accept your insurance. If possible, try to interview as many different professionals as possible. Perhaps, if your insurance does not cover sessions with a counselor, it might cover sessions with a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Once you have found a professional who is willing to accept your marriage counseling insurance, you need to call your insurance company to find out the number of sessions your provider covers.
Getting Coverage for Marriage Counseling: The Importance of Referrals
Because so many insurance companies refuse to cover marriage counseling, it can be advantageous to get a medical referral to a marriage counselor. If you have a general practitioner who knows you and your spouse well, you may want to ask him for a referral to a marriage therapist or a marriage counselor. An insurance company might consider your couples therapy to be medically necessary and might pay for a few sessions. Most insurance companies are more willing to pay for individual therapy than for couples therapy. If your insurer already covers your private therapy, ask your private therapist for a referral to a couple’s therapist. If couples therapy looks to be necessary for your mental health, your insurance company will be more likely to pay for it.
Related Article: 7 Tips to Finding a Great Marriage Counselor
Considering Return on Investment: The Immense Value of Couples Therapy
If your marriage counseling insurance covers the cost of seeing a couple’s therapist, you are in luck, but if you have to pay out of pocket, you may want to think carefully about the potential return on investment that you will get by paying for couples therapy. The mental health community recognizes that many issues are easier to treat when they are dealt with within the context of a family environment. Family counseling sessions can be effective when dealing with marital issues, depression, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and more. In most cases, family or couples therapy takes less time than individual therapy, which means you are likely to spend less money throughout your treatment.
One is Better Than None: Opting for Individual Therapy When Your Insurance Refuses to Pay for Couples Therapy
If your insurance company refuses to pay for couples therapy and you do not want to pay for help out of pocket, you may want to look into individual therapy. Many marriage experts say that it only takes one person to significantly change a troubled relationship. If your marriage is suffering because one person has a substance abuse or mental health issue, therapy can be invaluable for that person. It can also be incredibly helpful and supportive to the other person in the relationship. If possible, you and your partner can attend individual therapy sessions. As you work through your issues separately, you may realize things about yourself that can help you improve your relationship with your partner and transform your marriage.
Related Article: Help Your Relationship with Free Marriage Counseling
Sliding Scales: One Option for Saving Money on Marriage Counseling
Unfortunately, if the answer to the question is marriage counseling covered by insurance is no, you may get stuck paying for help out of your own pocket. Many therapists have sliding scales, which means your fees could be lowered depending on your ability to pay. Even if a therapist does not advertise that they have a sliding scale, you can still ask for one. According to research from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), over two-thirds of all marriage counseling professionals are willing to lower their rates for couples who ask. You should also look for mental health resources in your community. Many towns have low-cost mental health facilities where you can be matched with therapists who are willing to work for relatively low rates or even for free.
Choosing the Right Professional: Determining if a Marriage Therapist, a Psychologist, or a Psychiatrist is the Best Option
Another way to save money is by selecting the right professional. Most marriage and family therapists have a doctorate or a master’s degree in marriage counseling and family therapy. Psychologists, in contrast, have doctorates in psychology, and psychiatrists are typically medical doctors who have been certified in psychiatry. The fees charged by a marriage counselor are typically less than the fees charged by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. According to the AAMFT, a marriage counselor’s fees are typically 30 percent less than a psychiatrist’s fees and 20 percent less than a psychologist’s fees. That makes marriage and family therapists the preferred professionals to see if you are paying for your own treatment without the help of insurance.
Learn more on how to avoid divorce in our Marriage Counseling Guide.