Navigating Health Insurance for Psychotherapy: Understanding Excess, Referrals, and Cost Savings

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Access to quality mental health care is crucial for overall well-being, and health insurance often plays a significant role in ensuring affordability and availability of such services. However, understanding the intricacies of health insurance, particularly when it comes to psychotherapy, can be a daunting task. In this article, we will shed light on a few key aspects of health insurance coverage for psychotherapy, including excess, referrals, and potential cost savings. By grasping these concepts, you can make more informed decisions about your mental health care.

1) Excess in Health Insurance:

When it comes to health insurance, it’s important to be aware that certain policies may include an excess. An excess refers to a predetermined amount or percentage of the cost of your treatment that you are responsible for paying before the insurance coverage kicks in. In the context of psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) sessions, the excess may apply.

2) Referrals and Insurance Provider Networks:

Some insurance companies, like AXA, have networks of healthcare professionals, including doctors and specialists. If you have health insurance with AXA, you may need to contact their designated doctors who can then provide referrals for psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy. These referrals are typically directed to large provider networks, where you will be assigned a therapist for your treatment.

3) Treatment Allocation within Provider Networks:

Within these provider networks, the allocation of therapists can vary. It’s important to note that the therapists available through such networks may charge higher fees compared to independent psychotherapists. This is due to various factors, including the administrative costs associated with working within a network and the potential demand for their services.

If you want to know more you can contact me below for a free 15 minutes conversation.

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4) Cost Savings with Independent Psychotherapists:

While being assigned a therapist within a provider network can be convenient, it’s worth exploring other options, such as independent psychotherapists. Independent practitioners often have their own private practices and may offer their services at lower rates compared to those within larger networks. This means that if your insurance coverage includes a certain percentage, such as 80%, and you are billed, for example, £125 per session, you would pay only 20% of that. However, if you choose an independent psychotherapist who bills you £85 per session, you would pay 20% of that amount, which can result in substantial cost savings.

How to find a therapist that is registered with AXA or other insurance?

If you prefer to find a therapist yourself, here's a step-by-step guide:
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1) Call Your Insurance Provider:

Contact your insurance provider and inquire about their process for finding a therapist independently. They can provide you with relevant information and guidelines to help you navigate your options.

2) Request Authorization Code:

If you are referred through a general practitioner (GP) or another healthcare professional, inform your insurance provider that you would like to find a therapist yourself. Request an authorization code that allows you to search for a therapist independently.

2) Request Authorization Code:

If you are referred through a general practitioner (GP) or another healthcare professional, inform your insurance provider that you would like to find a therapist yourself. Request an authorization code that allows you to search for a therapist independently.

3) Find a Therapist Specializing in Your Needs:

Take the time to research and find a therapist who specializes in the specific area or approach that aligns with your needs. For example, if you require CBT or EMDR, look for therapists who have expertise in these modalities.

4) Check Insurance Recognition:

Visit the therapist’s website or contact them directly to inquire about their recognition with your insurance company. Independent psychotherapists, like myself, may have partnerships with multiple insurance providers. Ensure that they are recognized by your insurance company to maximize your coverage.

5) Free Consultation:

Many therapists offer free consultation sessions to prospective clients. Take advantage of this opportunity to connect with the therapist, discuss your concerns, and assess if they are the right fit for you. This initial conversation can help you gauge their approach and determine if you feel comfortable working with them.

6) Begin Your Journey:

Once you have found a therapist who meets your criteria, has insurance recognition, and aligns with your needs, you can begin your therapeutic journey. Schedule an appointment and embark on the path towards improved mental well-being.


Understanding the nuances of health insurance coverage for psychotherapy is essential in optimizing your mental health care and managing costs effectively. By being aware of excess, referrals, and exploring options beyond provider networks, such as independent psychotherapists, you can make informed decisions that align with your needs and financial circumstances. Remember to review your insurance policy, consult with your insurance provider, and explore various therapy options to find the best fit for you. Prioritizing your mental well-being should not be hindered by the complexities of insurance, and with the right knowledge, you can navigate the system with confidence. Moreover, by choosing independent psychotherapists, you can benefit from the advantages of freedom of choice, free consultations, and the opportunity to support small independent businesses as you embark on your therapeutic journey.

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