Insurance Information

6 Important Questions to Ask your Insurance Company before Attending Counselling

In Canada, if you are covered by extended health insurance at work you may be eligible for some coverage of counselling sessions.

Before you come for counselling, call your insurance provider (e.g., Great West Life, Blue Cross) and ask the following questions to ensure eligibility:

1. Do you cover a Registered Social Worker (RSW)? 
Most insurances cover counsellors from a variety of professions (social work, psychology, art therapy, expressive therapies); however, some only cover registered social workers and some cover only psychologists. Dr. Duanita is a registered clinical social worker. Check your plan to confirm that they cover this profession. 
Would you make an exception? If your company does not cover registered clinical social workers, you may consider writing to ask the company if they would make an exception. Because Dr. Duanita is a registered clinical social worker who also can provide art and play therapy, some insurance companies have made exceptions in order to meet the specialized needs of their clients.

2. How much am I covered for?
Ask the amount of money which you are covered for.

3. What is the maximum amount paid per session for the therapist?
Insurance companies often pay counsellors below the counsellors private practice rate for therapy services. It is important that you know what the insurance company maximum is and what the counsellor’s private practice fee is.

4. Are there any deductibles? 
Ask for information about any deductibles that your insurance company might charge you if you utilize the money allotted for counselling coverage.

5. Is the coverage for a calendar year or a fiscal year?
Some insurance companies give a set amount of money that you can use in a year for counselling. It is important to know if they base this on a calendar year (beginning in January-December) or a fiscal year (beginning in April to May). Depending on when you need to begin your counselling, this question can make a big difference in the amount of coverage available to you.

6. Does my counsellor bill the insurance company directly or do I pay up front and then get reimbursed?
This is a very important question to ask. If the counsellor is able to bill the insurance company directly, ensure that you obtain all of the billing information before sessions begin, that is, the name, address and phone number of the company which the counsellor will send invoices to.
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