OCD Chicago

Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment
Information for Parents

Financial Issues - Affording OCD Treatment

The benefits of OCD treatment are so great that exploring financial options is worth the effort.  OCD won’t go away by itself, and it grows stronger without treatment.

When money is an issue it can present challenges to getting OCD treatment. If financial difficulties are keeping your adult child from seeking help to overcome OCD, it’s sometimes possible to find a method to reduce costs or finance the cost so treatment can take place.  Here are some ideas for how to pay for treatment or stretch limited dollars to get help.


Call your adult son or daughter’s health insurance company to find out:

  • Which services are covered in the health plan?  (If your child is of an age that qualifies them as a dependent under your own health insurance policy, contact your insurance carrier to discuss coverage.)
  • Whether there is a list of preferred therapists for CBT treatment of OCD
  • 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 the policy has annual or lifetime limits for mental health services.

If your child is a college student, contact the student health center or counseling center at the college or university they attend.  Many colleges offer student health insurance, which may include coverage for mental health services at deeply discounted rates, or without charge.  Some colleges and universities have on-staff psychologists who are trained to offer Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

These campus services also may be able to make referrals to psychologists in private practice who are trained and experienced in offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

If your adult child is a military veteran, there may be mental health services available through some veteran’s hospitals.  If your child qualifies, disability benefits may be available through Social Security. Certain low-income individuals who cannot afford to pay for medical care can apply for benefits under Medicare or Medicaid.


Some cognitive behavior therapists offer a sliding scale of fees, linked to the OCD sufferer’s ability to pay for services.  Your child should explain his or her financial situation clearly and, if necessary, try to work out a payment plan that extends over a period of time.  Of course, if you plan to pay for your child’s therapy, you’ll want to have this conversation with the therapist yourself.

Since the only scientifically-supported effective therapy for OCD is CBT (sometimes with accompanying prescription medication), don’t waste time or money on other therapies that may be offered by various doctors, hospitals, mental health centers, pharmacies or social clubs, or recommended by well-meaning friends or family members—such as yoga, relaxation therapy, traditional psychoanalysis or talk-therapy, nutrition counseling, nutritional supplements, herbal supplements and the like.  These were not designed to treat OCD.

It’s also important that any therapist you or your child contact is trained and experienced in cognitive behavior therapy.  You don’t want to spend money on any other form of therapy.  Keep looking if the therapist has never conducted CBT with patients.  An appropriate amount of “due diligence” in selecting a therapist will ultimately result in finding a qualified and experienced CBT therapist.

When you contact a therapist about OCD treatment, asking the right questions can save you time and sometimes money.  Learn more questions to ask a prospective therapist.

You may also want to contact your local mental health association for names of cognitive behavior therapists and also to determine if any kind of financial assistance is available for treatment.


If your child’s therapist recommends the use of OCD medication in conjunction with therapy—and the prescription is not affordable—a number of resources offer information about prescription assistance, including:

  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance Call 1-888-4PPA-NOW or Visit this site
  • Needy Meds Visit this site

You can also try some of the following:

  • Ask the prescribing doctor whether a generic form of the medication prescribed is available.  Generic drugs generally are less expensive than “name brand” medications.
  • Call various pharmacies to find the one that offers the medication at the lowest cost.
  • Ask pharmacies if ordering a three-month supply would lower the cost.  Some insurance companies offer discounts on co-pays for prescriptions if the medications are ordered in 90-day supplies by mail or online ordering systems.

Even though you want to save money, it’s very important to avoid ordering medications online from unknown sources.  Some web sites offer “easy” access to doctors who will write prescriptions that are filled by online “pharmacies”.  Sometimes junk email messages offer discounts on prescription medications (often filled through foreign countries).

While the pricing may be attractive and far lower than the local pharmacies offer, 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!  You would never want your child to risk taking fake medications.

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