Overcoming OCD
Information for College Students

When Money Is a Problem - Options for Getting Better

When money is an issue it can present challenges to getting OCD treatment. But don’t give up. Here are some ideas for how to pay for treatment or stretch limited dollars to get help.

  • Some colleges and universities offer Cognitive Behavior Therapy without cost to registered students. Check the requirements to determine if you must be considered a full-time student to take advantage of the school’s health services. You may have to be taking a minimum number of class hours to qualify as a full-time student.
  • If your student health center or counseling service is able to provide CBT, whether through an on-site cognitive behavior therapist or an arrangement with a local hospital or doctor, it may be covered under your student health insurance, or be available at a discount.
  • Call your insurance company or the insurance office at your school to find out:
    • Which services are covered under your student plan
    • Whether there is a list of preferred therapists
    • What percentage of charges will be covered -- some insurance companies pay more if a treatment provider is part of the company’s network of providers, and pays a lower percentage of fees if the provider is “out of network.”
    • Whether your policy has annual or lifetime limits for mental health services.
  • Talk with your parents about the cost of treatment. They may be able to help:
    • If you still qualify as a dependent on your family’s health insurance policy, check to see if mental health services are covered for you.
    • Parents may also be able to help you pay for the cost of treatment services, whether or not you are carried on their insurance plan. They also may be able to talk with the therapist on your behalf to seek lower fees.
  • If you are a married student, and your spouse is employed, check to see if you could be covered under his or her employer’s health insurance plan. The monthly cost of adding you to your spouse’s plan could be less expensive than paying for therapy without any insurance coverage.
  • If you are not married but are in a long-time committed relationship, and your partner is employed, it may be possible to be added to your partner’s employer’s health insurance plan. Some employers offer partner insurance as an employee benefit.
  • If you don’t have any insurance options for payment, talk with your therapist (or make calls to multiple therapists if you are looking for a therapist to begin treatment with) to see if they offer fees on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay.
  • If you can’t find or afford a cognitive behavior therapist, you may still try to make progress by reading about OCD and using an OCD workbook to try to reduce your symptoms until you’re able to enter therapy. Go to More Resources to find a book that can help you.
  • If medication has been prescribed to help control your anxiety and OCD symptoms as you undergo CBT therapy:
    • Ask whether you can use a generic version of the medication.
    • Call various pharmacies to find the one that offers the medication at the lowest cost.
    • Be aware that while there are many online “pharmacies” and lots of spam email messages offering drugs at discounted prices, you should not order from an unknown source, no matter how good the “deal” seems to be. There are many confirmed reports of online shoppers receiving fake medications and when analyzed, some such purchased drugs were actually found to contain harmful substances, including contaminated powders and, in one case, cement!
  • These resources offer information about ways to pay for prescriptions:
    • Partnership for Prescription Assistance (1-888-4PPA-NOW) or visit this site)
    • Needy/meds (visit this site)

Most importantly, don’t give up. OCD won’t go away by itself. The sooner you start CBT and ERP treatment, the sooner you will start experiencing relief from your symptoms.

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