Will My Insurance Pay for ERP?

By Keara Valentine
4 minute READ
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If you’ve researched treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you’ve likely come across ERP, or exposure and response prevention. ERP is widely recognized as the most effective form of cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD. In fact, it was developed specifically in order to treat OCD and to help people identify and cope with triggers. 

ERP works by exposing patients to potentially triggering situations in order to provoke their obsessive thoughts and create a safe and controlled opportunity to work on stopping their compulsion responses so they can live more freely.

However, if you’re looking to treat your or a loved one’s OCD with ERP, you might be concerned about the cost. Depending on your insurance and the availability of covered treatment providers, ERP can be relatively expensive. But don’t worry — we’re here to help you navigate the waters of insurance and ERP so you can find the most accessible and affordable treatment option for your situation. 

Is ERP covered by my insurance? 

Whether or not ERP is covered by your insurance will depend on a lot of factors: the type of medical insurance you have, the mental health coverage associated with your plan, whether or not the appropriate providers are in your network and more. It can be overwhelming trying to figure it all out, but the best thing to do is to call your insurance provider. 

ERP is often classified under outpatient individual therapy, so when you call to ask about your mental health benefits, be sure to ask about the coverage for this level of care. To find out about your mental health coverage on your insurance policy, look at the back of your insurance card and find the “mental health/substance abuse” or the “customer service” phone number. When you call, ask for your benefit information and mental health provider names and contact information for outpatient individual therapy. 

Remember that even if your main medical benefits are listed under one company — like Cigna, for example — the mental health benefits may be contracted through an entirely different company. Your insurance provider will be able to tell you more about this when you give them a call. 

After they’ve provided you with your benefit information and covered mental health providers, you can determine if any of the covered providers specialize in ERP for OCD. If you already have a provider you’d prefer to see, and they’re not on the list, you may be able to inquire about a “single case agreement” and make the case that the provider offers expertise that is not offered by your insurance’s in-network providers.

Where can I find affordable treatment options for OCD? 

With the ability to virtually meet with therapists and providers, OCD treatment has never been more accessible than it is today. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover ERP or other OCD treatment methods, or if you don’t have insurance, you can still seek out an affordable and accessible treatment option that works for you. 

If you’re looking for a virtual therapist to provide ERP treatment, our network of highly trained specialists is available nationwide, and it’s one of the most affordable options out there today. When you schedule a free call with our team, we guarantee we’ll help you find a licensed therapist in your state trained in ERP. More than 90% of our clients are seen within two weeks of booking their first appointment. 

Receiving virtual treatment allows for easy scheduling and a controlled environment where triggers can be safely and easily introduced for ERP, since patients often see their providers from the safety of their own homes. But if you’re not ready to take the plunge into virtual therapy, the International OCD Foundation has a few resources for other affordable options that are incredibly helpful, including:

  • A list of clinics that offer scholarships for patients seeking treatment
  • A resource directory that allows you to search for professionals and clinics that offer sliding-scale payment plans that allow you to pay what you can 
  • A list of ongoing OCD research studies that patients can be a part of to get low- or no-cost treatment while helping to potentially discover new treatment options — some of them even pay participants for their time! 

If you can’t afford any of these therapy options, but you’re still looking for a way to manage and treat your OCD, the OCD Challenge is a completely free, self-guided program that you can utilize to help manage your symptoms in the meantime. The website was designed by OCD providers, researchers and advocates with the goal of improving the lives of those with OCD. 

How do I determine the best option for me? 

Finding the best option for you comes down to three key things: accessibility, affordability and comfort level. ERP can be a slightly uncomfortable treatment to go through, but you want to make sure you’re comfortable with your provider and the costs so that you reduce additional stress that can impede your treatment. Gather all the information you can from your insurance provider, jot down your options on a piece of paper or a digital notepad and go over the pros and cons with yourself. 

You’ll probably be able to determine which treatment options you prefer and which don’t make sense for you right now, and it’s okay if that treatment plan changes over time! Right now you might find that the OCD Challenge is the easiest and most affordable option for you, but your situation may change two months from now and you may decide to give virtual therapy a try

It can be overwhelming at first trying to determine the best course of action for your OCD treatment plan, but there have never been more broad and accessible types of options for those with OCD to consider. So you’re bound to find a great treatment plan that will work for you — it just may take a little time and effort. 

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Keara Valentine
WRITTEN BYKeara Valentine

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