Supplemental Mental Health Insurance in the U.S.
December 19, 2004 6:09 PM   Subscribe

I am in search of supplemental mental health insurance (in the US). Does such a thing exist? I'm a full-time grad student about to lose my awesome COBRA benefits from my past job. I'm going on to my husband's plan, which has crappy mental health coverage (only 20 therapist visits a year vs. 45 with my last insurance). I need weekly visits, but there's no way to change the plan. I've googled for supplemental health insurance, but I mostly get sites for those on Medicare. I've checked several major insurance companies, but none have any specifics about their mental health coverage. Has anyone else dealt with this situation? Perhaps someone who works in the insurance industry can point me in the right direction?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I work in the business, and I have never heard of supplemental mental health insurance. From a business standpoint, there's just no money in it. I hope I'm wrong and someone can point you to something useful, but I've just never seen it, and I deal with health insurance every day.

I have had psychiatrists and therapists who were willing to work with me on reduced cost, and even some free visits. You might try talking to your therapist about it.

Mental health parity has been talked about a lot recently. I really think that the insurance companies just aren't interested, because it's of little value to them monitarily. Good luck.
posted by veronitron at 6:53 PM on December 19, 2004

The problem is, who is going to get supplemental mental health insurance except someone who needs to use it? You probably would end up paying as much in insurance as you would in doctor's visits. The thing to do, IMO, is to work out an arangement with your therapist where he charges the insurance full rate 2/5 of the time, and you pay directly at a reduced rate the other 3/5 of the time. I would imagine under these circumstances that he would be willing to give you a very substantial discount, probably 50% or more on the visits not covered by insurance.
posted by cameldrv at 7:49 PM on December 19, 2004

You haven't mentioned your financial situation, but in some states there are phenomenal low-income health programs. A friend (in Pennsylvania) who needed hundreds of dollars worth of psychiatric drugs every month (& was a poor student) was part of a program where she paid $50 monthly, and the rest of her medication was covered.

Also, some universities offer free counseling sessions that are actually quite good (though that doesn't work if you've already got a strong relationship with your therapist, but..).

Ask your current therapist for ideas, talk to local health clinics, maybe even Planned Parenthood, or call up your local library (no kidding! this is what librarians DO). One of these places will be able to point you in the right direction.
posted by soviet sleepover at 1:37 AM on December 20, 2004

I'm going on to my husband's plan, which has ... only 20 therapist visits a year vs. 45 with my last insurance. I need weekly visits, but there's no way to change the plan.

Perhaps it's time to reconsider the therapist you're seeing. If what you're doing now (talk and medication, presumably) isn't moving you toward more stability (less need for one-on-one therapy), then maybe someone else can provide you with better help.
posted by WestCoaster at 10:25 AM on December 20, 2004

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