How to pay for marriage counseling

If you’re hoping to use insurance to pay for marriage counseling, you’re likely to be disappointed. Couples’ counseling is rarely covered by health insurance because marital issues are not considered by the insurance companies to be a health problem. The exception is when one of the parties is in treatment for a mental health or substance abuse condition. Then, marriage counseling can often be covered as part of that treatment. If that is the case, then the partner with the condition will have to be considered the identified patient and billed under his or her name.

If one your employers has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), then you may be in luck. You and your partner can go see a counselor for a limited number of sessions (usually 3 to 6) paid completely by the program, no questions asked. If you have this kind of benefit, human resources will be able to tell you or it’ll be in the employee handbook. Just call the number to the EAP and the person there will set you up with a counselor in their network. You are not able to work with anyone out of network with an EAP.

Many counselors, including myself, are willing to reduce their hourly fees if it’ll mean that you can commit to a frequency and duration of treatment that can make a difference. This is called a sliding scale. Ask about it.

If you’re involved with a religious organization, many pastors are willing to work with couples in marriage counseling as part of their pastoral duties. Some are very good marriage counselors and this can be a good option if you both buy into the faith they represent.

Marriage counseling can take a big chunk out of most peoples’ budgets if it continues frequently for an extended period of time. It’s impossible to know in advance how long or how often you’re going to need to meet, but, chances are, it’ll have to be for an extended period of time. It’s not cheap, but it can save you the cost of a divorce.

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