Insurance

Navigating Therapy without Insurance: 10 Low-Cost Therapy Options for People Without Insurance

Learn about low-cost therapy options for people without insurance, including online platforms, community resources, and Medicaid. Discover 10 ways to access affordable mental health care and find a therapist today. Accessing therapy without insurance is possible and crucial for mental health.

therapist sean abraham By Sean Abraham, LCSW

Updated on May 22, 2024

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The cost of therapy remains one of the biggest obstacles for people needing mental health services.

The American Psychological Association estimates most patients need about 15-20 therapy sessions to overcome a mental health condition, but 20-30 sessions deliver better results.

While the cost of therapy can prove prohibitive, health insurance increases accessibility by lowering your out-of-pocket amount to an affordable copay.

But what if you’re uninsured?

Luckily, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars out-of-pocket if you don’t have health insurance.

There are a number of low-cost therapy services available, including low-cost therapy options which offer a dynamic pricing range to improve accessibility and help you safeguard your mental health.

In this article you will find information about how much therapy costs without insurance, along with options for affordable therapy without insurance, free therapy resources, and how to find a therapist today.

Key takeaways:
  • Affordable mental health care without insurance is possible through low-cost therapy options
  • Therapy costs can be prohibitive, but insurance lowers out-of-pocket expenses to affordable copays
  • Medicaid, sliding scale therapists, online therapy, and employee assistance programs offer low-cost options
  • Group therapy and support groups provide affordable mental health care for those without insurance
  • Nonprofit organizations like Open Path Psychotherapy Collective offer low-cost therapy services

How Much is Therapy Without Insurance?

Therapy without insurance costs $68 to $250 per hour, with most therapists charging $80 to $200 per session.

How much is therapy with insurance?

Many patients only afford therapy through health insurance coverage. Health insurance reduces the cost of therapy to an affordable copay of $20 to $50, depending on the service provider and therapy services.

Wayne Klee, a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) with Grow Therapy, affirms that therapists accept insurance to make therapy affordable and accessible.

“Therapy is a journey towards healing and growth, and by accepting insurance, I strive to lower or remove barriers that may hinder clients from embarking on this transformative process. No one should feel discouraged from seeking therapy due to financial concerns when insurance coverage puts quality mental health care within reach,” says Klee.

What Determines the Cost of Therapy?

How much you pay for therapy depends on many factors, including:

Can You Get Therapy Without Insurance?

Yes, despite the high cost of therapy, you can prioritize your mental health and get the help you need without insurance coverage.

There are numerous ways to access low-cost, yet effective mental therapy without resorting to $100 therapy sessions.

Previously, therapy without insurance was prohibitively expensive because of geographical limitations and limited offerings.

Modern technology and a greater interest in improving mental health at the national and local levels are helping to make therapy accessible and affordable.

Whether living in a high-cost city or an underserved area, you can access low-cost therapy options that won’t break the bank.

Can You Get Free Therapy?

Yes, there are plenty of no-cost free mental health services to choose from if discounted therapy is still out of your price range.

The scope of service may be limited, but these free mental health services include:

10 Affordable Therapy Options Without Insurance

From online therapy platforms and Medicaid to group therapy and sliding scale therapists, there are many low-cost therapy options to help improve your mental health.

1. Medicaid

Medicaid is a government-sponsored program that provides low-cost or free health coverage to eligible individuals and families with limited income and resources.

While Medicaid focuses primarily on medical services coverage, it may double as a low-cost therapy option for those in need.

A survey by Kaiser Family Federation shows that Medicaid covers at least 44 mental health services in 45 states. They include intensive services and institutional care, outpatient therapy services, substance and drug abuse, crisis services, and integrated care services.

Medicaid beneficiaries may use it to cover the cost of therapy and prescription medication.

2. Sliding Scale Therapists

Sliding scale is a flexible pricing structure that adjusts the therapy session cost to your income level.

Sliding scale therapists offer low-cost therapy by prorating their fees based on the client’s ability to pay. The primary goal of this pricing model is to make therapy affordable to individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford the full fee.

Therapists have the sole discretion when setting the fees and may follow set guidelines or income thresholds. However, some therapists may be open to more flexible arrangements based on your circumstances.

3. Online Therapy

Therapists are increasingly leveraging technology to make therapy readily accessible and affordable to patients in need. Also known as online counseling, teletherapy, or e-therapy, the practice allows patients to connect with qualified therapists through live video chats, email, messaging apps, or phone.

It eliminates the traditional hassle of in-person therapy, reducing all needed for a session to a device and a reliable internet connection.

The simple but effective setup allows therapy platforms to offer online counseling at affordable prices. Some therapy platforms use a weekly or monthly subscription instead of charging for individual sessions.

4. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Employer-sponsored programs are designed to support employee mental health and well-being.

EAPs typically offer various confidential services and resources to help employees manage personal and work-related challenges that may affect their performance, productivity, and overall quality of life.

Companies often contract licensed therapists to run their programs, and they may help you deal with emotional and substance use issues, financial difficulties, legal issues, and interpersonal relationships. EAP services are offered at no cost to the employee, and the sessions may be in-person or online.

There are no standard guidelines for EAP services, so the services and delivery model vary between employers.

5. College Healthcare Centers

Universities and colleges offer mental health counseling in their healthcare centers.

They will often have licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, and clinical social workers on staff. Others will contract third-party service providers.

While these services largely focus on the students, some are open to members of the public. They may offer sliding-scale therapy to people looking for affordable treatment without insurance.

Therapists in training often provide free or low-cost therapy services under the keen supervision of a practicing therapist.

6. Disability Benefits

Those with disabilities may use the Social Security disability benefits to cover the cost of therapy.

Mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, severe depression, and anxiety disorders that interfere with your ability to hold down gainful employment qualify for the SSA benefits.

The disability benefits are paid monthly to cover your medical bills, living expenses, and other financial obligations. The SSA provides benefits through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Eligibility is subject to meeting stringent requirements, but the program will cover the cost of therapy and prescription medication.

7. Group Therapy

Group therapy organized around a specific mental health condition is a great low-cost option for anyone who needs therapy but can’t afford health insurance.

Formal group therapy taps into our innate need to socialize and can provide a healthy and supportive environment. Group therapy happens under the guidance of a licensed psychotherapist and helps treat various mental health issues such as personality disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Since the cost is divided among participants, group therapy is usually cheaper and more affordable. Some therapists may offer a reduced fee structure for group sessions.

8. Support Groups

Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment, often at no cost, to help mental health patients deal with their issues. Licensed therapists lead some support groups, while others are peer-led, but all are instrumental in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health therapy. Support groups often bring together people dealing with specific issues such as depression, grief, and divorce. Most are free and make a great entry point for anyone considering therapy without insurance. Mental Health America can help you find a support group near you.

9. Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations such as Open Path Psychotherapy Collective are a great option for people without health insurance coverage.

The nonprofit lets you find therapists offering low-cost therapy in your region.

There’s a $59 membership fee, but membership grants you access to low-cost therapists who charge $30 to $60 sessions spread across various states and mental healthcare providers.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) provides access to free and low-cost clinics offering mental health services.

Also, depending on demographics and the mental health concerns being addressed, some grants are available to provide funding for not only therapy itself, but also other resources like housing, etc. if one qualifies.

For example, Recovery Works provides funding for people in the criminal justice system searching for treatment.

10. Grow Therapy

Grow Therapy is an online therapy platform that increases access to mental health services while making therapy more affordable.

The platform simplifies your ability to find a qualified therapist by putting over 6,000 providers at your fingertips.

Using the available search filters, you can narrow your options to find a therapist who meets your needs. You may filter therapists by gender, specialization, identity, location, and therapy modality.

Grow Therapy uses transparent pricing, so you’ll see how much a therapist charges per session without insurance. Additionally, Grow Therapy accepts cash pay, HSAs, Medicaid, Medicare, and Employee AssistancePrograms to help the uninsured get the help they need.

Find a Therapist Today

While insurance does help lower the cost of therapy, it’s not your only pathway to affordable mental healthcare.

If you’re uninsured or your healthcare plan doesn’t cover therapy, you can access therapy without going into debt. From Medicaid and dedicated therapy platforms like Grow Therapy to support groups and nonprofits, you have plenty of options when you need affordable therapy without insurance.

These no-cost and low-cost therapy options will help you take charge of your mental health without saddling you with huge therapy bills.

Are you considering therapy but worried about the cost?

Grow Therapy can help match you with a qualified therapist within your price range. Have your pick from accredited and affordable therapists in your region.

FAQs

  • Therapists may be open to negotiating your therapy fees if you don't have insurance. You may need to prove your financial situation when explaining your need for reduced fees. Although the reduction isn't guaranteed, it's worth inquiring. Some professionals also offer pro bono services to clients/patients in difficult situations.

  • Therapy provided by a qualified therapist, regardless of the cost or settings, will likely deliver effective results if you commit to the treatment plan. However, many factors determine the therapy outcome, including the type of mental health issues and treatment duration.

  • Many psychotherapists, from LCSWs to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, offer low-cost therapy services. Online resources such as Grow Therapy can help you narrow your search and get the type of therapy modality you prefer.

About the author
therapist sean abraham Sean Abraham, LCSW

Sean Abraham is a licensed clinical social worker who works with those who have struggled with substance use, depression, anxiety, loss, communication problems, student life, as well as other mental health concerns.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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