Mental health can be a critical aspect of healthcare, however it can also be confusing. That’s why The Healthcare Hustlers created a basic guide to mental, health breaking down different types of providers and their billing information.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
I’ve heard different names for mental health practitioners thrown around, who is who?
Fully trained medical doctor
Bill as a specialist
Can prescribe medication
Generally book appointments weeks or months out
Have a PhD or PsyD
Use research-based psychological behavioral approaches
Can diagnose mental illness
Cannot prescribe medication
May work in conjunction with psychiatrists
Generally book appointments days or weeks out
Mental Health Counselor/Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Licensed Professional Counselor
Qualifications vary by state, but could include a bachelor’s or master’s degree
Various specialties, including trauma, childhood behavior, addiction, depression, sexuality, etc.
Find one here
Generally have flexible availability and offer evening and weekend appointments
Okay, okay, but what about paying for my mental healthcare?
The good news? Since the ACA passed, mental health services are nearly always covered. The bad news? It isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Different types of providers are subject to different healthcare benefits.
Psychiatrists generally bill as a specialist visit (like a dermatologist or orthopedist)
Psychologists and mental health specialists generally fall under your mental health benefit, which may be covered differently. Call your insurance to find out how they are covered.
Most plans allow for mental health visits, but a few have a maximum number of visits per year or require medical necessity. Always check with your insurance company to ensure these do not apply.
No matter who you decide to see, make sure they are in-network and have an active license in your state by Googling “check mental health license [your state name]” and typing in the provider’s name.