How (on earth) do you do therapy in NYC?
April 18, 2013 3:10 PM   Subscribe

How do you handle mental health in NYC- insurance, out of pocket, other options?

I just made a huge move to NYC, and now I'm trying to figure out how I can continue in therapy. I have a referral from my last therapist, but when this new person told me the out-of-network fee, I couldn't believe how high it was. More research indicates that a lot of therapists here don't take insurance and most people are paying out of pocket, with very low reimbursement rates. Even if I find someone in-network, my insurance (Aetna) will only cover a small amount that I assume is not the whole fee. A place with a formal sliding scale probably won't consider me in need since my gross income is high (though with loans, my expenses are also quite high and I can't spend $800/month on therapy).

So, MeFites: what do you do? How do you handle the insurance/out of pocket issue? (And if you have recs for someone in Manhattan or Brooklyn who focuses on relational therapy, I'm all ears.)
posted by theflash to Human Relations (7 answers total)
You have two options, I think.
1) you can try the sliding scale route anyways. Call up psychoanalytic institutes like Blanton-Peale and Washington Square and explain your situation (you make a high wage but you have student loans, etc0 and ask if there's any leeway.

2) get on PsychologyToday and find an LCSW near your work or your home, read profiles to see who specializes in relational therapy and your other issues, call them up and ask about their sliding scale. Ask how it works. Many therapists are willing to work with you based on your needs. I recommend LCSWs because I feel like they're a bit more understanding of mitigating financial circumstances, but I'm probably biased since I'm studying to become one.

FWIW, I found my therapist through Washington Square Institute, and when I did intake I just *told* them my income. They didn't ask for proof. However, you obviously can't lie that much during intake because the specialist will present your case to a table of potential therapists, so they'll know if you say you're a truck driver when you are in fact a programmer. But I feel like you can get away with fibbing, if that sits okay with you.
posted by zoomorphic at 5:59 PM on April 18, 2013

Lots of therapists do take insurance. The PsychologyToday side that zoomorphic mentions is a good place to find someone who takes your insurance.

It may be that you don't like or click with anyone in your network, but it's definitely worth it to check first, and maybe ask if they are willing to work with on what you can cover after insurance.

I tried to do out-of-pocket for a while, thinking that I would be better off with the therapist who had more expertise in my situation but no in-network coverage, but I was so stressed out by the prospect of re-entering debt for therapy that it defeated the whole point, and I quit after two sessions.
posted by bunderful at 6:48 PM on April 18, 2013

I know someone who takes Aetna (or did, last I spoke to her). MeMail if you're interested.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:03 PM on April 18, 2013

I also know someone who takes Aetna. I just saw her today, I think she's really good. MeMail me. Also, have you tried their DocFind thing?
posted by bengalibelle at 7:39 PM on April 18, 2013

I went through my insurance website to find someone in-network. Have you tried that? The co-pays were reasonable and the insurance was crap so I can't believe her fees were that high. I'm not sure if she takes Aetna, but memail me if you'd like a recommendation.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:13 PM on April 18, 2013

I know several people who used to work here and several other people who go to therapy here and really like it. It's sliding scale. Their website looks sort of dated and not great, but by all accounts it's a great place.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 3:48 PM on April 19, 2013

Nthing lots of therapists take insurance. I got mine through Psychology Today and he takes my insurance. Good luck.
posted by sweetkid at 10:05 PM on April 29, 2013

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