Fees & Insurance For Mental Health Services

Your health insurance may cover some or all of your fees for therapy. Getting the help you need may cost less than you think.

Using Your Insurance for Therapy Sessions

We take care of verifying your benefits prior to an initial therapy session, so there are never any surprises or hidden fees.  When I welcome you into my mental health practice, you should receive a detailed outline of your coverage for therapy, so you know what to expect.

Insurance and Fees

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Before your therapy begins, you will want to know if therapy is a covered service

My initial verification of your coverage will provide you with information such as co-pay amounts, deductibles, and session limits for our counseling services in Chicago.

If these insurance terms are confusing, we get it.  I will help explain them to you.

We have heard that some counseling practices in Chicago only offer out-of-network coverage, forcing you to deal with a complicated system of submitting paid receipts to your health insurance company.  Or perhaps you have experienced therapy centers that use an end-of-the-month invoicing service.  What a headache.

We want to take care of all the billing issues for you, so you can focus on getting the quality care you’re looking for.

My mental health practice accepts credit cards, including Health Savings Plan Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts. Your HSA or FSA account can be used to help you meet co-pay and deductible amounts.  We collect these fees at the time of your session, so you never accrue a balance.

Accessing therapy should feel seamless and easy

My services are $175 per initial consultation and $150 per follow up session (unless we have made another arrangement).

A sliding fee scale may be extended to you if you are uninsured and can show financial hardship.

The typical session length is 50-55 minutes.

Therapy fees will likely be reduced to an insurance contracted rate or co-pay.

Vanessa E. Ford, LCSW, CADC is an in-network PPO provider for many private insurance carriers.  In-network coverage includes Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, Aetna, Cigna Health Care, Optum/United Healthcare, and Multiplan.

BC/BS PPO plans are accepted regardless of what state your plan is in, including federal plans.

My associate therapists are in-network providers for Aetna and BC/BS PPO plans.

You should be aware, we do not accept or bill HMO or EAP plans.  We do not contract with Magellan plans or Humana.  We also do not accept Medicaid or Medicare plans.  My associate therapists are not in-network with Optum/United Healthcare, Multiplan, or Cigna.

I may also add or change the plans that I am contracted with from time-to-time, so I encourage you to ask about your specific plan.

If we are out-of-network with your insurance, we are happy to point you in the right direction, so you can access helpful resources to help find someone who accepts your insurance.

Some services, such as premarital counseling, are not typically covered by insurance, because insurance benefits for therapy only cover services for a medical problem such as anxiety or depression.  Relationship counseling might not count.  Feel free to ask us, and we’ll let you know if your specific situation does or doesn’t fit under your health insurance plan.

You may sometimes choose to work with us, even though your therapy services aren’t covered by insurance.  Our specialized services, including EMDR, focused premarital counseling, and art therapy, may be difficult to find.  We know you’d rather work with an experienced therapist, than an intern or recent graduate.

We understand that finding a quality provider can prove challenging, and your self-care may be worth it.

Billing your HSA or FSA account may help you in offsetting any out-of-pocket expenses for counseling.

If there are any future changes to your insurance plan, please let us know right away.  We will help you look into your new benefits, and will update you with what we find out.  Because you are responsible for any therapy fees resulting from a denied insurance claim, we don’t want you to experience any surprise bills.

Remember:  If there is any way that I can assist you in navigating the insurance process, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I will attempt to help in any way I can.

Please also note: If you provide less than 24 hours’ notice of cancellation for a scheduled session, you will be charged for that session.  Insurance companies will not typically reimburse for this cost, which means you will be responsible for the full fee of $150, and not just a co-pay amount.

We respect your time and ask that you respect ours.


Accessing Your Insurance For Therapy

We find that most of our clients prefer that we run their insurance for them, saving the hassle of calling your insurance company and getting the runaround.

Especially since as a consumer, you are probably not familiar with all the complicated terminology insurance companies use to trip you up.

You pay a lot of money for those great health insurance benefits, but the insurance companies are experts in obfuscation.

We never rely on our client’s understanding of their benefits. We call your company directly, so we can give you accurate and complete information, before your first session.

We know you could get off the phone with your health insurance company and wind up more confused than before. And now with the addition of telehealth benefits, it’s more important than ever to understand your coverage.

Let us do the work for you.

Don’t Take Our Word For It

If you happen to be the type of person who feels more comfortable finding out more about your insurance coverage, prior to scheduling an initial appointment, we want to help you ask the right questions.

Finding out what your mental health benefits are can be daunting, especially if you have never done it before.  Mental health benefits are not necessarily the same as your routine medical benefits.
Ask questions.  Don’t be surprised.
Here are some important questions to ask your insurance company:

  • Can you explain my behavioral health benefits for individual (or family) psychotherapy on an outpatient basis, provided in an office setting? What about telehealth benefits?

(When talking to an insurance company rep, use these exact words.  Trust us on this.  This terminology has a specific meaning in the world of insurance.)

  • What is my deductible?  How much have I met this year already? Do I have to meet this deductible each and every year? Does my deductible match the calendar year, with new benefits starting each January 1st, or does my plan use a different system?
  • Do I have a co-pay or co-insurance amount I am responsible for?  How much is that?

(Co-pays are a flat fee for your therapy service.  Co-insurance amounts are a percentage of the total fee for therapy.  If you need help calculating what your co-insurance will be, just ask me.  It will be based on a specific contracted amount.  Don’t bother trying to calculate it on your own.)

  • Do you cover in-network as well as out-of-network therapists?  If my therapist is out-of-network, how much do you reimburse?  How do I go about submitting my receipts for paid sessions for reimbursement?

Insurance and fees

Commercial Health Insurance Coverage for Therapy

To look up your benefits, click these links:

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois
United Health Care/Optum