If you have health insurance, there’s a good chance your policy covers at least some mental health services. If you want to use your insurance rather than pay out of pocket for a service like BetterHelp, here’s what you can do.
Check your insurance plan for mental health coverage
To find out what your plan covers, you can:
- Ask the mental health professional you want to work with to find out if your insurance is in their network.
- If applicable, check with your company’s human resources department.
- Log in to your online account and look to see what your insurance covers.
- Call your insurance provider and ask what they cover.
In some cases, you’ll need to obtain preauthorization to obtain coverage. Other insurers require you to pay a deductible before they pay any claims. Deductibles can be quite high, so be sure to ask your insurance company.
Determine your deductible and copays
A deductible is how much you have to spend for health services that are covered by your insurance before your insurance company pays for anything.
With some types of plans, you might have a low monthly health insurance cost, or premium, each month but a high deductible. This means you must spend more on healthcare that qualifies for insurance payments before being covered by your plan.
In other cases, your monthly insurance premium may be higher but your deductible is lower. This means you have to spend less on healthcare per year before your insurance coverage kicks in.
Your plan likely also has copays, which is the amount you pay for each visit to a healthcare professional. These are often around $20-$40 but can vary.
Find a counselor covered by your insurance
Once you know what your plan covers, it’s time to find a therapist. To find a therapist, check out one or more of the following resources:
- your insurance plan’s list of mental health professionals
- referrals from healthcare professionals, family, and friends
- trustworthy online databases, such as the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator or the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s Therapist Locator
- local options, including community mental health or behavioral health clinics, and other organizations such as colleges, advocacy groups, religious groups, and nonprofits
- Healthline’s FindCare resource
What’s covered by FSAs and HSAs?
FSAs and HSAs can help you save money on health expenses, including some online counseling services.
An FSA is a savings account established by your employer with a portion of your monthly pay. It allows you to save money by not paying income taxes on the portion in your FSA. You can use this account to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, such as online therapy.
You can typically contribute up to only a certain amount to your FSA. Depending on your employer, you may have access to the funds immediately when you enroll or after you have contributed a significant amount.
An HSA works similarly to an FSA. To contribute to an HSA, you must qualify and meet certain requirements, such as:
- You’re not enrolled in Medicare.
- You’re not claimed as a dependent on your partner’s or anyone else’s tax return.
- You have a high deductible health plan, meaning you pay more for health costs covered by insurance.
A key difference between an FSA and an HSA is that an FSA stays with an employer, and you may lose access if you change employment.
On the other hand, an HSA is portable. You can take it with you from employer to employer.
Ask your employer whether they offer an FSA or HSA. Not all employers offer these tax-saving tools for health expenses.