Quality treatment for our kids is a necessity but, unfortunately, it comes with a hefty price tag.  Our current healthcare system doesn’t offer high-quality treatment at affordable rates. For anyone in the position of seeking treatment for a loved one, the financial burden can be scary and overwhelming.  In order to maintain a high level of care and individualized treatment, most programs (Wilderness therapy, Residential Treatment & Therapeutic Boarding) do not accept health insurance. Further, most will not bill insurance companies directly, sign or complete standardized claim forms or appeal on behalf of families for insurance reimbursement. This fact scares families and can often deter them from seeking treatment.  But it doesn’t have to. There are resources in the market that can help ease the financial burden and some lesser known “tips” that you can utilize to offset some of the costs associated with treatment.

For starters, it can never hurt for treatment providers to make a call to your insurance company to try and get treatment pre-authorized.  Second, it is important to submit claims from your treatment program to your health insurance carrier for possible reimbursement. Therapy services (individual & group) may be covered services, but potentially subjected to out-of-network deductibles and coverage rates.  

An area that people commonly overlook when thinking about reimbursement is transportation company services.  These expenses can be submitted to insurance as medical transportation with the proper billing code on your invoice.  This expense also will likely be subject to out-of-network deductible/coverage rates.

With the healthcare system being what it is, and costs what they are, a growing industry is insurance advocacy.  Insurance advocates exist to assist families seeking reimbursement from insurance companies. There are advocates that specialize in reimbursement for wilderness therapy programs and residential treatment.  Consulting with one of these professionals can help determine what you may be entitled to receive and how best to pursue reimbursement. Many treatment programs have worked with advocates in the past and can make recommendations.

Another way to help offset the financial burden is the Federal medical expense tax deduction on your Federal Tax statement.  For tax years 2017 and 2018, you can deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. In tax year 2019 you will be able to deduct out-of-pocket expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income.  Before pursuing this option you should discuss it in more detail with your financial or tax advisor.

A final resource to consider are financial lenders that specifically work with families pursuing mental health options.  Many therapeutic programs offer lending partners they have worked with successfully in the past and can make recommendations to you.