Paying For Therapy Might Be Easier Than You Think

Paying for Therapy in San Francisco   

You’ve may have heard that it’s hard to get decent mental health care.  You may have also heard that it’s expensive and that insurance doesn’t cover it.  This isn’t entirely true.

Although we still have a long way to go in terms of providing adequate mental health care to everyone who needs it, things have improved in the last several years and more people are able to access therapy than ever before.  Following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) the majority of my clients now use insurance to cover most of the cost of their therapy.  Amongst my clients, I’ve found that insurance usually covers 65-75% of the session fee (after the deductible has been met).


What you need to know:

Do you have an HMO or a PPO?  This information might be listed on your insurance card or in the materials that came with your policy.  If you can’t find the information on the documentation you have at home, you can call the 1-800 number listed on your insurance card and ask them whether you’re on an HMO or PPO policy.  

If you have an HMO, there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that your insurance probably covers therapy and you’ll likely only pay a small co-pay for each session. 

The bad news is that you’ll have to pick a therapist who is on their list of providers, and it can sometimes be a challenge to find someone “in network” who is also accepting new clients.  

This process can obviously be difficult and frustrating when you’re already not feeling great.  Keep trying, though!  Getting the help you need will be worth it.  

If you have a PPO, awesome!  You’ll have your choice of going to any therapist you’d like to see. This is how the majority of my clients pay for their therapy.  At the end of each month, I provide my clients with a form to submit to their insurance companies, and their insurance companies then send them a check, reimbursing them for the majority of their session fee.  On average, clients with PPOs seem to be getting reimbursed for 65-75% of their sessions after the deductible is met.  

If you’re looking for therapy in San Francisco and aren’t sure whether your insurance company will cover it, feel free to give me a call at 415-261-2989.  I’ll be happy to check your benefits for you and will point you in the right direction once we determine what type of insurance you have. 


Carly Earnshaw, MFT is a San Francisco therapist who provides psychotherapy to people struggling with depression and problems in relationships. She also helps people recover from childhood trauma and abuse. She has offices located in the Sunset District and Hayes Valley in San Francisco.  To schedule an appointment, call her San Francisco office at (415) 261-2989.  You can also email or send a text.