with A Sliding Scale
What Is A Sliding Scale?
Do You Qualify?
Cost should never be your deciding factor when seeking help in dire times. Deciding to see a therapist to address your emotional problems and/or mental health concerns may be one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. Many people do not seek treatment because they cannot afford treatment and this is a big problem in our society. Even those with health insurance are having this problem because many do not cover mental health care at all. One solution offered by many counselors is sliding scale fee therapy. If you qualify, this type of fee structure can make it possible for you to get the help you need without making you bankrupt.
Therapists that use a sliding fee scale structure use a discounted rate for people with fewer resources. It is not a rate that can change over time. The amount you pay is structured by your income level. Therapists set up one sliding fee scale that is used for all of their patients. If you have enough money to pay the full cost of therapy, you will be billed at the therapist's standard fee. But, if you are facing financial challenges that decrease your ability to pay, you will be billed at a reduced fee. For example, in an office where the full price is $175 per hour, if you make less than $70,000 per year, your fees may be $75 per hour but if you make $120,000 per year, you may pay $100 per hour.
Do You Qualify?
If you feel you cannot pay the full price, you can present your income information and number of dependents. Deciding how much you will pay is a very straightforward process. If you meet the criteria, you will pay lower fees based on your level of need. The amount you pay is usually adjusted by the United States Federal Poverty Guidelines and the usual and customary fee for mental health in the geographical area where you live.
What about Insurance?
Sliding scales are designed for people who are paying for the service themselves rather than those who are paying through an insurance company. You do not typically get a reduced fee for your copays or deductibles. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not cover most mental health care anyway or they only cover a small percentage. In many cases, it is cheaper for you to pay out of pocket with a sliding scale fee rather than using your health insurance.