Paying for Therapy
Understanding the actual cost of therapy and figuring out how much your insurance will cover can be overwhelming. Often, it is more informative to make phone calls to your insurance company and potential therapists - this can allow you to walk through any of your concerns with a real person, getting a sense of what therapy will actually cost and whether you can afford to work with certain therapists. There are tools online to help with this as well, such as this therapy calculator.
There are three main ways to pay for therapy:
1) In-network insurance
2) Out-of-network insurance
However, many therapists don't accept in-network insurance, for reasons detailed here.
Why might you want to use out-of-network benefits or self-pay, then?
You can see any licensed therapist, whether or not they are in your insurance network, so you have a larger pool of therapists to choose from. Additionally, you have access to more experienced and more specialized, niche therapists, as these kinds of therapists tend to be less likely to accept in-network insurance. Using out-of-network insurance or self-pay also often allows you to spend less time on waitlists and see a therapist quicker, as therapists who do accept in-network insurance often have many people who want to see them as well. Another benefit is more flexible appointments, such as evening or weekend times, because therapists are often more flexible with scheduling out-of-network or self-pay patients.
Additional benefits to self-pay include privacy, ensuring that anything about your condition and treatment remains between you and your therapist, and also customized treatment plans, as there is no insurance involvement and thus no insurance provider to say what the treatment plan should look like. This means that you can see your therapist twice a week, or for longer periods of time, or they can come to your house if this is what works best for you. An insurance provider will not cover such customization for you.
A more detailed guide to out-of-network benefits can be found here.