If the thought of seeing a therapist in person scares you, then telephone counseling is a great alternative form of therapy. You will receive many of the same benefits of in-person therapy, including the ability to talk to an unbiased person about your problems in order to find a resolution, but you can do so in the comfort of your own home. Telephone counseling is also a great resource for people who don't have transportation to a therapist's office.
While there are countless more benefits to receiving counseling over the telephone, many insurance providers don't want to pay for this type of service. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your situation. Keep reading to learn a few tricks on getting your medical insurance company to pay for telephone counseling services.
Get a Prescription
When an insurance company is refusing to pay for an alternative treatment like telephone counseling, then your best bet is to convince them that it's medically necessary. The simplest way to do that is to have your primary care doctor give you a prescription for telephone therapy sessions. Make sure your prescription includes a diagnosis as to why you need this therapy, how often you should have therapy, and how long this treatment should last. For example, a patient with depression may receive a prescription for telephone therapy twice a week for 6 months. After that, their situation can be reevaluated and a new prescription can be written.
Convince Them it Will Save the Company Money
If getting a prescription doesn't work, convince the insurance company that it will save them money in the long run. Other conventional treatments, like in-person therapy sessions, typically cost a lot more than telephone therapy sessions. For example, private therapy sessions can cost between $50 and $240 for a one-hour session. And telephone therapy, also called telemental health, averages about $125 a session. So, by covering your telephone therapy, you are actually saving the insurance company money.
You could also point out that if you don't go to therapy because you can't afford it on your own, you may have to start taking a prescription drug that could cost significantly more money. Another alternative is that you could end up in a mental institution, which could potentially cost the insurance company thousands of dollars.
File an Appeal
If your claim for telephone therapy is denied, try appealing the insurance company's decision. With additional documentation, sometimes the insurer can be convinced to cover the costs of your therapy. The insurance companies want to see medical notes that show the therapy is helping you. Always obtain a receipt for every telephone therapy session. Keep a copy of your prescription for therapy, if you were able to get one. Make sure the receipt from your therapy services matches what the prescription says. Include a statement from your telephone therapist about the progress you are making with your sessions. Then send copies of all these documents to your insurance provider. This may be all they need to change their mind and cover your telephone counseling sessions.
Use Your Tax-free Health Savings Account
You may be able to get around insurance coverage by using your tax-free health savings account (HSA) or your flexible spending account (FSA) to cover the cost of your telephone therapy sessions. This depends on the type of health insurance you have, and if one of these types of plans are available to you. What is great about these plans is that your contributions into these accounts are tax-deductible, and withdrawals are tax exempt when the money is used for qualified health expenses. You will have to check your insurance plan to see if telephone therapy is a qualified expense.
As you can see, there are several things you can do to convince your medical insurance provider to pay for your telephone counseling sessions. Be advised that every health insurance company is different, and what may work for one company may not work for another. But the best thing you can do for yourself is to try. If you have any questions, contact a telephone therapist like Antonios Healing Hands for assistance. They will be more than happy to help you.