Counseling - Use Mental Health Insurance or Not?

Updated on April 01, 2010
J.A. asks from Fresno, CA
7 answers

My husband and I have decided to go to counseling - nothing major going on, we just need to find better ways to communicate and argue less. I have mental health coverage/insurance through my job, but my husband is reluctant to use the insurance. He's afraid it will affect our ability to obtain disability, health, or life insurance in the future. Neither of us has any history of mental health problems. Do you have any advice/info to share regarding my husband's concern? I'd rather not pay $150 per session out of pocket, buy I understand my husband's concern. Thanks.

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answers from New York on

What you are seeking-out is marriage counseling, not disability-related therapy. There is a difference in the billing code. Unless either of you is diagnosed with a psychiatric condition as part of the counseling, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Your provider will provide non-specific therapy notes to the insurance company which will indicate that you are there for short-term topical intervention, not on-going psychiatric management.

Good for you for being open to learning new communication strategies!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Before you wreck your brain over this make sure marriage counseling is actually covered. I also have mental health coverage and have found out that marriage counseling is not included in my policy. Give them a call.



answers from Saginaw on

I agree with the previous answers. I can't say for sure that it won't affect the other insurances, but if you think about how many people are taking antidepressants or going to counseling, it can't be a huge strike against you.

Personally, I have used counseling on and off for several years, and I haven't had trouble with life insurance, even though I do take medication for depression. It was more of a problem that I also take high blood pressure medicine, so does my dad, and my grandpa died of a stroke.

However, Krista has a good point that none of that might matter. Your insurance might not cover marriage counseling anyway, or if it does, it is probably billed differently. You might call the insurance company and find out what your benefits are before worrying too much more about it.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,
My boyfriend and I found ourselves wanting better communication and closeness as well. We read the Harville Hendrix book "Getting the Love You Want." We did the processes at the end of the book and also went on a weekend retreat. It was truly amazing and changed our relationship. My suggestion would be find a method that works. So many therapists are ineffective and shallow. There is also a great Dr. who does Wed. even. lectures in Long Beach at St. Mary's hospital her name is Pat Allen (google her). It only costs $10 and you learn tons.
Good luck and peace in your marriage,



answers from Boca Raton on

Your husband is right. Using your mental health coverage means that the treating therapist must give you a diagnosis in order to get paid. This diagnosis can haunt you, depending on what is given. For example, if the clinician puts down "Bipolar Disorder", you could possibly be turned down for any number of insurances in the future. I know this first-hand because I am a licensed therapist in South Florida. I run my own practice, and I run into this dilemma all the time with clients. In addition, Mental Health coverage does NOT cover Marital or Couples counseling. So, unfortunately, using the insurance would probably not be an option anyway. Another way to go is Marital Life Coaching. I am a Certified Life Coach as well. My practice includes both Individual & Couples Life Coaching. I have reasonable rates, and Life Coaching can be done over the phone. Life coaching is different then Counseling in that it is all about goal-setting & skill development. There is no diagnosing, and if a person, or someone in the couple, has a mental illness, they would be referred for individual counseling to resolve those issues, since they can not be addressed in Life Coaching. It sounds to me as though you & your husband are more in need of this type of service. If you would like to contact me to discuss this further, I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. I can be reached by viewing my website at I wish you all the best, & I hope this helped.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,

You can also check out to see if your employers have EAP (employee assistance program). Most large companies provide this at no cost and it is confidential. I know that my employer gives us 3 sessions free and then you have to pay a co-pay.



answers from Sacramento on

You'd have to disclose it anyway. They ask on forms for all of those types of coverage if you have ever ______. It's not about whether you used insurance, but whether you have accessed a particular health service. It shouldn't affect disability or life insurance coverage (my husband needed hospitalization for OCD as a teen and it didn't affect those insurance plans later), but would for independent health insurance because they basically want you to have never seen a doctor of any sort.

Personally, I would just use the health insurance coverage, since it won't make a difference in the end anyway. Better to have it covered and get the help you need.

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