One of the biggest decisions for people considering therapy is how they’ll pay for it. The two main options are self pay therapy and insurance. Self pay involves paying for your therapy sessions out of pocket, while insurance has your sessions covered by an insurance company. Here are some of the pros and cons of these two options:
Pros of Self Pay Therapy
Paying out of pocket allows you to choose your desired therapist. You can research therapists for areas of specialization, experience, services, costs, and more. You can then select a provider that suits your needs or even switch to another therapist if you don’t feel a connection with your current one. There is also flexibility over sessions. Since you’re the one paying, you can discuss the length and number of sessions with your therapist. As long as you can pay for them, you can have as many sessions for as long as you need.
Therapy is sometimes personal and may involve sensitive topics like mental health issues, relationship problems, illnesses, and addiction. When insurance is involved, records of your therapy sessions may be kept and seen by those overseeing the insurance company. With self pay therapy, only you and your therapist will have access to information about what is discussed during the sessions. This creates a secure environment for exploring sensitive issues and helps to protect your privacy.
When using insurance, paperwork and other processes may need to be completed. You may need to seek pre-approval from the insurance company, fill out forms for reimbursement, and wait for days or weeks. Out-of-pocket payments allow you to avoid all these hassles and get treatment as soon as possible.
Cons of Self Pay Therapy
Can Be Costly
Without insurance coverage, you must pay the total cost of therapy sessions. Costs can add up depending on the therapist and the length of each session. This may be difficult to maintain if you have financial constraints or limited income. You may need to look for therapists who offer sliding scale fees or accept payment plans so that you can spread the costs over a certain period.
Pros of Insurance for Therapy
Increased Financial Assistance
Insurance plans cover some or all of the costs associated with therapy. This reduces your out-of-pocket expenses and makes counseling more affordable. That can be helpful if you don’t have the funds to pay out of pocket. Check whether you have mental health coverage in your plan and determine its specifics.
Using insurance for therapy makes it easier to plan your budget. You will know exactly how much you’re responsible for covering. That is because you already know the specifics of your plan and what it covers. You can budget accordingly and use the insurance company’s guidelines to determine your out-of-pocket costs.
Cons of Insurance for Therapy
Limited Options for Therapists
Your insurance plan may only cover certain therapists, limiting your options. You may be unable to find a provider offering the services you need or one specializing in a particular area. You may need animal-assisted therapy, music therapy, or behavioral therapy. If the insurance company does not cover therapists offering these forms of therapy, you will need to pay out of pocket or forgo them altogether.
Insurance companies keep records of your therapy sessions and any information shared with them. This means that other people in the company may have access to sensitive information about your treatment. That can affect confidentiality and make it harder for you to open up in therapy sessions.
Insurance can have a lot of paperwork and administrative processes. You may need to get pre-approval for certain treatments, fill out forms for reimbursement, and wait for the insurance company to process your claim. That can take time and energy away from actually getting treatment or finding solutions for your condition. You may need urgent help, but the insurance company’s processes may get in the way.
Choosing Between Insurance or Self Pay Therapy
If you can afford it, self pay may be more suitable as it provides more flexibility and confidentiality. If you have financial constraints and already have insurance, it can be a viable alternative. Evaluate the pros and cons of each option to determine what works best for your specific situation. Feel free to explore both options and discuss them with your therapist.