The term mental health has taken on a new meaning for everyone this year (and we mean everyone). Having to stay away from loved ones, wait in socially distanced lines, and celebrate major life events through a computer screen has taken a toll. In June, the CDC reported that about 40% of adults have expressed that they’re struggling with mental health, which is more than double last year’s average. So what’s stopping people from getting treatment? One major reason: accessibility. From expensive therapy sessions, out of network specialists, and the rising cost of medication, it may seem better to just delay treatment rather than foot the (very large) bill.
While healthcare providers are making slow but sure progress to make options more accessible, costs can still be high. An HSA is a great tool that you can use to your advantage to help cover the cost gap and support your long-term mental health.
Here’s how you can use your HSA to save on depression treatment.
First, get a professional diagnosis.
The first step in your mental health journey is seeking help and getting a diagnosis from a psychiatric professional. If your insurance doesn’t cover this, you can absolutely use HSA funds to see a psychiatrist who can tell you more about your mental health. Don’t worry if your insurance qualifies this as an out-of-network specialist, because your HSA can still take care of any costs associated with the appointment.
Use your HSA to buy prescription medication.
If you and your doctor think medication should be a part of your treatment plan, your HSA can help cover the cost, even if the provider is out-of-network! Prescription costs can add up quickly, so be sure to check for any potential savings via tools like GoodRx.
Use your HSA to pay for alternative treatments.
If you want to try more alternative treatments (light therapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and more), you can obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) so your HSA will cover it. This is the case in many instances - if your therapist or doctor believes a treatment or item will benefit your health, an LMN can be used to ensure your HSA dollars are put to use.
Foot the therapy bill with your HSA.
Counseling with licensed social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals count as qualified medical expenses. If your insurance doesn’t cover this (or maybe they don’t cover ALL of it), your HSA can step in and be used to pay for your appointments! Not comfortable going into an office yet? We get it! Teletherapy is a quickly growing practice with outlets like Cerebral and Talkspace (which you can access via our shop). Finding a therapist you enjoy and trust isn’t always an easy find on the first try, so don’t get discouraged. Be sure to utilize your HSA so you can find someone who really works for you.
If you feel that your depression requires the attention of a long-term facility, your HSA will also take care of those costs. If those costs exceed your deductible, or even your out-of-pocket maximum, insurance will step in and help, as well.
Your HSA can cover substance abuse treatment, too.
If your depression is related to alcoholism or substance abuse, you can use your HSA funds to cover various forms of treatment, including rehab facilities (short- and long-term) and AA or NA meetings. Always keep your receipts - an HSA can even cover transportation, meals and lodging expenses for your treatments and meetings. Costs should not stop you from taking charge of your life and wanting better for yourself and your loved ones.
Use HSA dollars to buy items that can help you at home.
Taking care of yourself at home is a big part of managing your depression. An HSA can help out with a lot of items you might not have realized are qualified medical expenses.
- If your depression is menstruation-related, buy your favorite menstrual products with your HSA (on that note, you can also use your HSA to pay for birth control).
- If you experience chronic pain with your depression, buy over-the-counter pain medication to help you out.
- Decent sleep can play a huge role in mental health, consider an eye mask to help you rest (you can also get a Letter of Medical Necessity for a weighted blanket).
- One of our favorite tips is to seek a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor for other items and treatments you determine could be beneficial to your well-being. With that letter, you can ensure your HSA dollars are put to use!
Your mind is just as important as any physical part of your body and should be taken care of that way. As we say goodbye to the days of stigmatizing those struggling with their mental health, we are welcoming in an age of acceptance and accessibility. While there’s a lot of work to do, we want to ensure your HSA is one of the many tools you can use to better yourself, because you deserve to be here, reaching your full potential.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with someone and get help today. 800-273-8255
*Updated on 7/23/21 First Dollar's partnership with RxSaver has been merged with GoodRx upon its acquisition. Find prescription savings via GoodRx on their website or app.