Considering taking out a loan to pay for out-of-network mental health services? Try these 5 things first
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Mental health should always be a priority, but sometimes your finances can get in the way of you getting the help you need. Just like any sort of health care, mental health services cost money. Many people living with a mental illness can’t afford the proper care and support they need to progress on their mental health journey. 

Mental health services are an investment, which is why many people treat it as such by taking out loans to get access to mental health care. But there are other options that you should explore before signing up for a long-term financial commitment. 

Why do people take out loans for out-of-network mental health services?

When you need money, loans are often the way to go. Loans are a possible finance option if you don’t have insurance coverage for your mental health services. You might also prefer specific services or providers that are outside of the insurance network.

Insurance doesn’t always cover mental health care, as it sometimes only covers services that are needed for medical issues. Some insurance companies will only cover mental health care if you receive a mental illness diagnosis; consequently, seeing a therapist for everyday stress will usually result in out-of-pocket costs. In fact, 37% of U.S. adults who need mental health care are unable to access it due to a lack of insurance or out-of-pocket costs.

Out-of-network mental health services may be preferable if you feel like the providers in the network are ineffective for your needs or too far of a commute from your home. Sometimes the in-network providers aren’t taking new clients, or the out-of-pocket costs are still too high. In 2013, 1 in 5 people using mental health care services saw an out-of-network provider.

5 options for out-of-network mental health care besides loans 

While taking out a loan is common for handling the fees of mental health care, it’s not the only option available. Whether you’re looking for free/low-cost mental health care or financial options to pay for out-of-network mental health providers, you have several choices to explore.

Here are five possible options instead of loans for out-of-network mental health services:

  • Check out-of-network mental health benefits — If you’ve decided to opt out of in-network mental health care providers, see what out-of-network mental health benefits are offered through your insurance. For example, some companies will pay a certain amount of your out-of-network mental health care fees. So you may get a reimbursement for the company’s portion after you’ve paid your deductible. A claim form is usually required for the reimbursement.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers — FQHCs are nonprofit centers or clinics that are found in underserved areas. They are outpatient centers that provide a variety of primary health care services, including mental health care. They use a sliding scale fee for payment, which means it’s adjusted based on your income. 
  • Support groups — Sometimes all you need is to feel understood by those around you. Instead of going to a mental health provider for one-on-one sessions, support groups will help you see that there are many other people struggling with your same issues. There are support groups for many types of mental disorders and stressors, from generalized anxiety disorder and self-harm behaviors to dealing with the loss of a loved one. These free groups are often led by health professionals. 
  • Graduate schools — Mental health professionals have to go through quite a bit of schooling and training before they earn their license or certification. Their education usually requires practicing with real-life clients. Many graduate schools will offer people free or low-cost therapy sessions by graduate students who are currently studying to be mental health professionals.
  • Warmlines — While hotlines are well known, there are also warmlines available that are just as helpful. Warmlines are numbers that people who aren’t in immediate distress, but who are still struggling mentally, can call. Warmline operators can provide emotional support as well as early intervention before an urgent mental health crisis may occur. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, can refer callers to local warmlines on its HelpLine.

3 tips to help you choose the best loan (if you have to use one)

Sometimes you run through all your options without any positive results. If you’ve decided that taking out a loan for your out-of-network mental health provider is the best choice, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here are three tips for finding the best loan:

  1. Choose a personal loan, because they are the most flexible option. It can be used for whatever you choose, including your mental health treatment.
  2. Take out your personal loan from a private lender. Applying for a loan through a private lender will often give you a low interest rate.
  3. Check to see how the fees add up. Even if your payments and interest rates are low, there may be fees that you’re overlooking, such as application or prepayment fees.

Lightfully Behavioral Health provides mental health services, in or out of network

Whether our treatment center is covered by your insurance, or only with out-of-network mental health costs, we’re here for you. We accept a variety of health insurance policies to ensure that you get the help you need.

We offer four programs at our mental health treatment centers to assist you with your mental health journey: residential treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also called our Day Treatment Program. 

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.


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