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 “belt-tightening” financially is worth the effort.  OCD won’t go away by itself, and it grows stronger every day without treatment.

When money is an issue it can present challenges to getting OCD treatment. If financial difficulties are keeping you from seeking help for your child, it’s sometimes possible to use a creative problem-solving approach to figure out how to afford treatment.  Here are some ideas for how to pay for treatment or stretch limited dollars to get help.


Call your insurance company to find out:

  • Which services are covered for dependents under your health plan
  • 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, you should contact the student health center or counseling center at their college or university.  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 psychologists on-staff 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.


Some cognitive behavior therapists offer a sliding scale of fees, linked to the OCD sufferer’s ability to pay for services.  You should state your financial situation clearly, and if necessary, try to work out a payment plan that extends over a period of time you can afford.

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 contact on your child’s behalf is trained and experienced in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and is experienced in treating children of your child’s age. You don’t want to spend money on any other form of therapy.  Keep looking if the therapist has never worked with children or young adults, as working with an inexperienced therapist may prolong treatment, adding unnecessary expense.  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.  Refer to the OCD Facts section for some 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.

Financing Options

Medical Credit Lines.  Some doctors offer lines of credit to help patients pay for services that might otherwise be financially out of reach.  If this is a payment method you choose to use, read the fine print carefully to understand the interest rate you will be charged before you sign the credit agreement.  Some providers’ interest rates will be similar to that of a credit card.  Some will be more expensive.  Choose carefully, because finance charges can really add up over the life of the loan or the payback period.

Personal Credit.  You could talk with your bank about a personal loan or credit line.  Again, be sure to read the disclosure information, and talk with a personal banker about calculating the total cost of finance charges until the amount borrowed is paid back.  Similar to how a credit card works, if you only make the minimum payment every month, you can actually end up owing significantly more than the amount borrowed in a short time, because the finance charges are added to the principal amount borrowed.

The key to borrowing money for any purpose is to fully understand the total cost up front—before you sign anything—and commit to a disciplined payment schedule, so you don’t put undue financial stress on your family.


If your child’s therapist recommends the use of medication in conjunction with therapy—and you have difficulty affording the prescription—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 you can use a generic version of the medication prescribed.  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 (spam) 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 to endanger your child by purchasing medication in this manner.

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