Ways to Keep Your Depression Treatment Affordable

Patient Expert

It's ironic. When you've lost your job or are struggling financially, as many people are these days, you need depression treatment more than ever. But depression treatment isn't cheap, even if you have insurance. If you're worrying about how to pay the rent or mortgage, buy food and pay the electric bill, medical treatment tends to end up way down the list of priorities.

If you have clinical depression, however, neglecting your treatment will be counterproductive. The more severe your depression, the less capable you are of managing your finances, finding ways to cut costs and looking for a job if necessary. It's crucial that you find a way to continue treatment.

Psychotherapy sessions become even more essential during tough times. When you're having trouble seeing a way out of your less than rosy economic situation, your therapist can help you devise a battle plan.

There's no question though that finding ways to pay less for your treatment will take some work. If you feel overwhelmed, ask a friend or family member to help you. Here are some tips for making your treatment less expensive.

  • First of all, you should try negotiating fees with your psychiatrist (or whichever doctor treats you for depression) and your therapist.
  • Negotiating lower therapy bills with your doctor or mental health clinic could be easier than you think. Paying in cash and paying upfront can often get you a discount. It saves the medical professionals the administrative costs and hassle of billing and following up.
  • If you are having trouble paying your medical bills, don't hide. Contact your doctor's billing person or department and see if you can arrange a payment plan.
  • If you have been seeing private practitioners, consider a mental health clinic instead. Most charge fees on a sliding scale. You pay what you can afford, based on your income.
  • With the help of Consumer Reports' Best Buy Drugs website, and your doctor's assistance, consider switching your medication, either to a cheaper antidepressant or a generic version.
  • Clinical trials, research studies done on humans instead of animals, have definite drawbacks as well as benefits, so you need to take part in them with your eyes wide open, and after a certain amount of research. The positive aspect is, obviously, free treatment. In most cases you'll also get a free physical. The drawbacks are that the treatment will eventually end, and it's possible that the treatment being tested will be ineffective. But it could be what you need to get over a rough financial spot.
  • Negotiate with your insurance company if it denies a claim for mental health treatment. Birds got to fly, fish got to swim, insurance companies got to deny claims. It's just a fact of life, and one that won't change soon enough to help you with treatment now, despite the passage of healthcare reform. But that doesn't mean that you should give up when your company denies treatment. Read my 10 Tips for Overturning Denied Health Insurance Claims.