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What Are the Different Types of Psychiatric Insurance?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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Psychiatric insurance covers treatment for a variety of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Insurance coverage may be provided by public or private health plans, such as health care maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and government subsidized plans. Coverage may include prescription medications, counseling sessions, in-patient hospital stays, and follow-up treatments. Some types of insurance reimburse treatments administered by a variety of mental health treatment professionals, including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, licensed clinical social workers, and group therapists.

Public or private health insurance plans may provide limited coverage for the treatment of mental disorders. One of the most prevalent types of psychiatric insurance is coverage provided by a comprehensive private health insurance plan. Some local governments even mandate that insurance carriers include this type of coverage in their plans. The amount of coverage may vary between insurance carriers and usually includes regulations on the type of disorders eligible for coverage, the amount of treatments a patient can receive payments for, the types of providers the insurance will cover, and the nature of treatments the carrier will pay for.

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An example of a potential limit in psychiatric insurance coverage might be when a major insurance carrier will reimburse up to four counseling sessions per calendar year. Insured individuals may be responsible for co-payments, deductibles, or a percentage of the treatment costs. Some carriers will deny coverage in certain situations, such as alcohol or drug abuse. If the coverage is provided by a carrier that is part of an HMO or PPO, the patient may need to obtain a referral from his primary care physician in order for the treatment to be eligible for reimbursement.

Government subsidized health care plans may also provide psychiatric insurance coverage. This coverage may not be part of the standard coverage and may need to be added on as an additional cost. With government health care plans, the individual may not need to obtain referrals for a treating psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Those seeking professional psychotherapy will more than likely need to check to see if their government plan is accepted for payment by the psychiatrist.

Professionals that accept psychiatric insurance may be designated as therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, or psychotherapists. The majority of these professionals have a master's degree and additional certifications or licenses. They may specialize in treating certain types of disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Others specialize in treating the mental side effects associated with traumatic events, including sexual abuse and rape.

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