When you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, you turn to marriage counseling to fix the issues. Unfortunately, many couples are unable to use this service because they can be quite expensive, depending on where you live. Many couples hope that by using their insurance, they can use it to cover the cost of counseling.
Is Marriage Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Marriage therapy may or may not be covered by insurance; it will depend on the type of insurance you have. Many health insurance plans do not cover couples therapy, though, since it does not require necessary “medical treatment” except when there is a diagnosable mental illness involved.
The reason why health insurance coverage won’t pay for marriage counseling is because of the following conditions:
It is not considered as part of the essential benefits of the insurance policyholder if it is not a treatment for mental health illness. Instead, counseling is a form of treatment designed to improve two individuals’ relationship.
Any form of relationship or marital issues is not classified as a mental health issue; therefore, it cannot be diagnosed or treated in the same manner.
It is not considered as a condition that requires immediate medical attention or treatment, which is typically the case with an injury or medical illness.
When your insurance company agrees to cover marriage counseling, you still have to meet certain conditions:
You need to obtain marriage counseling from licensed professionals.
You may be limited to professionals that are part of the insurance provider’s network, depending on your policy. This could mean that you may not be able to work with your preferred therapist if you get coverage by your health plan.
What Does Marriage Counseling Cost?
The cost of marriage counseling varies significantly based on a number of factors, such as your geographic location, the clinician’s skill level, and the extent of marital issues. As with most professions, the more experienced and in-demand a therapist is, the higher they generally charge for their service.
Marriage counseling requires a unique skill set. An expert marriage therapist has trained extensively for how to assess couples, and is able to formulate and implement a treatment plan that meets the needs of each couple. This usually involves more than a decade of experience, at the minimum. Individual therapists rarely have this expertise. Marriage therapists charge their patients based on the level of training and experience they have in the field.
Without insurance, the average cost of marriage counseling depends on geographic location as well. Major urban areas, like New York, charge more.
Since marriage counseling requires several sessions to become effective, the cost of counseling can easily add up if not covered by insurance. However, the cost of marriage therapy is usually minimal compared to the financial and emotional cost of divorce.
Is Marriage Counseling Worth It?
According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, couples who participate in marriage counseling report a success rate of 70% after receiving empirically supported treatment, including Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Results in marriage therapy are tied into the expertise of the marriage therapist, along with the number and severity of relationship injuries, such as significant betrayals with a high level of deceit.
The decision to undergo marriage counseling and choosing the best therapist are critical steps to making your marriage work — despite conflicts. The timing of seeking help is also crucial, along with the counseling techniques used. You probably will not be best-served by going marriage therapy with an individual therapist who occasionally works with couples, especially if you and your spouse are highly distressed. A weekend certificate course in couples therapy is not compatible to more than a decade of training in empirically validated models, including Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Schema Therapy.
However, it all boils down to you – the couple. You need to fully commit to making the counseling work, especially if you remain committed to the relationship. We don’t ask you to base your decision on what has happened in your marriage, but on the potential your marriage has to help you and your spouse be satisfied and cared for in your relationship. Even the best and highest paid counselors can’t save your marriage if both of you aren’t in a place where you can try to make it better.