How Much Does a Psychiatrist Cost Without Insurance?

Published on: 22 Sep 2021
muhammad.munir@talkspace.com'Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Munir, MD
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Psychiatric care should never have to be postponed because of cost. Yet it goes without saying that the cost of care will come into play when choosing any sort of healthcare provider, including a psychiatrist. The worry about cost can increase exponentially for clients who don’t have health insurance. If this describes you, and you need to know how much does a psychiatrist cost without insurance, here’s a breakdown of the typical fees associated with most treatments for in-person and online psychiatrists.

How Much Does it Cost to See a Psychiatrist?

How much it costs to see a psychiatrist is situationally dependent, but you can easily find out how much your fees will be prior to your first visit.  

According to Electronic Health Reporter, the average cost of a psychiatrist visit generally runs somewhere between $100 and $200 per session, but initial appointments are often more. Also, keep in mind that any additional mental health service can increase the cost of your care and therapy session.

Expect to pay about $300 – $500 for an initial consultation because the time needed for an initial evaluation is much longer and the psychiatrist’s workload is higher when you’re a new patient. The psychiatrist may have to order blood work, lab tests or psychological testing, and any other investigations in order to know that there are no other medical issues causing the psychological symptoms and signs. This process also helps the psychiatrist in making the best  recommendation for your treatment. There is no additional fee after the psychiatric evaluation is done. After this first appointment, the per-hour cost will be less. And, like anything, some psychiatrists will charge more than the average rate due to location, years of experience, specialty expertise, demand, or other factors.

In addition to the psychiatrists’ fees, you may also have to pay for specialized treatments, prescribed tests, and any necessary bloodwork if needed. Additional treatment costs like these can often also contribute to a higher initial fee, and they’re sometimes needed even after your first consult.

How Much Does a Psychiatrist Cost With Insurance?

How much it costs to see a psychiatrist with insurance coverage is as dependent upon your health insurance policy as it is on an individual psychiatrist’s fees. There are multiple insurance factors that will have a major impact on your out-of-pocket expenses.

Referral costs

First off, do you need a referral to see a psychiatrist? If your insurance requires a referral, then seeing your primary physician will be your first fee. Typically, you’ll pay your normal copay for that visit. Copays are often reasonable, one-time expenses you’ll pay at the time of your visit. If your insurance specifically doesn’t require a referral, however, you can call a psychiatrist and schedule an appointment for yourself or your family member without a referral from a primary care physician.

In vs. out-of-network costs

Whether your psychiatrist is in- or out-of-network will have the largest impact on your overall treatment costs. In-network providers will typically cost you much less to work with. Your insurer can provide a list of in-network psychiatrists, or you can contact a provider’s office directly to see whether or not they accept your insurance provider and are in-network.

After these considerations, what you pay will ultimately be determined by how your out-of-pocket expenses are calculated. The following will be important factors. 

  • Deductible: A deductible is how much you need to pay out of pocket (meaning, you’re responsible for the entire amount) before your insurance coverage kicks in. Until you meet that amount (it could be a percentage, but most often it’s a stated dollar amount), you’ll be covering the cost of your medical bills. For example, if your deductible is $3,000, you’ll pay that amount on your own before insurance starts to pay for any of your visits or treatments. 
  • Copay: A copay is a flat fee that you pay for your psychiatrist or therapy session visits. Short for “co-payment,” this fixed amount is determined by your insurance provider and it’ll be the amount you can expect to pay for any visit. Copays can fluctuate depending on type of insurance, type of provider, type of service, and type of appointment. For example, some visits like screenings or annual checkups may have a higher copay, or no copay at all. Specialty doctors may have a different copay than a visit to your primary does, etc.  
  • Coinsurance: A coinsurance is a percentage-based fee paid per visit. It’s how much you pay after any deductible has been met. 

The best way to answer “how much does it cost to see a psychiatrist with insurance?” is to talk with your insurer about the specific details regarding your mental health condition, your needs, your care, and the type of doctor or visit you are hoping to schedule.

How Much Does a Psychiatrist Cost Without Insurance?

If you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay all of the fees for your psychiatrist appointments yourself. As noted, you should be prepared to pay up to $500 for your initial appointment, and then around $100 – $200 or more for each subsequent visit. 

Be sure to ask about help with the cost of treatment, though. Many psychiatrists are willing to offer sliding scale fees (which are determined based on what you can afford). A lot of providers are more than willing to help you find ways to greatly reduce the cost to see a psychiatrist, even if you don’t have insurance.

You can also check into the services your county provides. Many have outpatient mental health options for individual therapy and other services. They may even be available at low or no cost to those who need psychiatric care but cannot afford it. 

Does Insurance Cover a Psychiatrist Visit?

Health insurance often (but not always) covers psychiatrist visits. The actual amount of coverage you can expect will vary though. Some plans may require a referral from a primary care doctor, and many will only cover in-network providers. Most insurance plans will still cover a (much smaller) portion of the cost if you choose to work with a psychiatrist who’s out-of-network. 

In-network providers are contracted with your insurance and participate in their plans. They agree to accept negotiated rates for services and care. To check if a provider is in-network, you can do the following:

  • Look at your insurance company’s website
  • Look at the healthcare provider’s website
  • Call the healthcare provider’s office 
  • Call your insurance company

It might be easiest to first call the provider and ask for their TaxID number. Then, you can call your insurance company and verify the provider is in-network. Sometimes it’s easier for an insurance company to verify in-network providers with TaxID numbers rather than using names and addresses (this is especially true if a provider is part of a group or has multiple locations). 

Also, you should keep in mind that an increasing number of plans are now starting to cover telemedicine online psychiatrist appointments in addition to in-person services.

How to Find an Affordable Psychiatrist Without Insurance

If you don’t have insurance, many psychiatrist offices will work with you to reduce costs where possible to help make treatment more affordable. You might be able to take advantage of:

  • Reduced cost clinics
  • Sliding fee scales for uninsured patients
  • Adjusted treatment programs
  • Generic prescription medication

You can also look into online telemedicine psychiatrists. Online psychiatry services tend to cost much less and can still be effective. They can be a much more practical solution for many uninsured people who’re seeking mental health treatment. You could potentially save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars over the course of treatment by using an online psychiatrist.

“Timely care prevents the loss of productive hours and is overall less expensive for the individual. Oftentimes, it’s cheaper to pay out of pocket for outpatient psychiatric services than through insurance.”

Talkspace Therapist Dr. Muhammad Munir, MD

Find an Online Psychiatrist With Affordable Fees

To find an online psychiatrist whose fees are affordable, look for a board-certified physician who provides the type of mental healthcare you need. Be sure to check what they charge, and then schedule your first consultation. 

Mental health care should never be delayed because of cost, and online psychiatrists may be the solution you’ve been looking for, offering a low-cost treatment plan that ensures your care doesn’t need to be postponed. If you are looking for guidance on when to see a psychiatrist, contact someone from our Talkspace team today. Our healthcare providers are here to answer any questions you might have. Begin your journey today with Talkspace.

Sources:

  1. Stensland M, Watson PR, Grazier KL. An examination of costs, charges, and payments for inpatient psychiatric treatment in community hospitals. Psychiatr Serv. 2012;63(7):666-671. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201100402 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22588167/ Published 2012. Accessed August 22, 2021.
  2. How Much Does A Psychiatrist Cost? Electronic Health Reporter. https://electronichealthreporter.com/how-much-does-a-psychiatrist-cost/. Published 2021. Accessed September 22, 2021.
  3. Mental health and substance abuse health coverage options. Healthcare. https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/mental-health-substance-abuse-coverage/. Published 2021. Accessed August 22, 2021.
  4. Rowan K, McAlpine DD, Blewett LA. Access and cost barriers to mental health care, by insurance status, 1999-2010. Health Aff (Millwood). 2013;32(10):1723-1730. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0133 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24101061/ Published 2013. Accessed August 22, 2021.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

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