Should Art Therapy Be Covered By Health Insurance?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that all major medical plans cover 10 “essential health benefits” starting in 2014. “Mental health and substance use problem services” is one of the advantages. This means that if you have health insurance that complies with the Affordable Care Act, it will cover mental health services like therapy and prescription medicines.

Only Fully Licensed Practitioners: The credentials of your creative therapist will determine whether or not your insurer will cover the costs of art or music therapies. Your health insurance probably won’t cover music or art therapists who only work in outpatient settings. A bachelor’s degree in art therapy isn’t required.

However, if he or she is a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist who also provides creative therapy services, you may be reimbursed.

You’ll Need A “Medically Necessary” Referral: Your creative therapy reimbursement is reviewed on a case-by-case basis by health insurance companies. Sessions with a music or art therapist must be designated as medically essential in order for your insurer to cover them.

It is not difficult to obtain medically necessary status. It means that creative therapy will have to be prescribed by a different mental health worker or a primary care physician with a relationship to your plan.

After your visit, you’ll still have to pay your standard coinsurance or copayment, just like in traditional therapy. You can also have a limit on how many times you can go to rehabilitative therapy.

The medical bill will include the costs of goods and equipment utilized during a therapy session. However, if you want to participate in projects at home, you’ll have to pay for them yourself.

Out-of-Network: Art and music therapists frequently work outside of the health-care system. You should be able to see providers outside of your insurance network if your plan isn’t an HMO. Your health insurance, on the other hand, will only cover a portion of the cost of your sessions.

Medicare and Creative Therapy: Outpatient mental health care is covered by Medicare Part B. If your appointment is deemed medically essential by a physician, Medicare may reimburse music and art therapists. To minimize costly out-of-pocket payments, check sure your provider accepts Medicare (and that you have the appropriate supplement insurance).

Active therapies that would have been paid by Medicare Part B will also be covered by Medicare Advantage plans.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy integrates psychotherapy with visual and physical sensations. Drawing, painting, sculpting, and taking photographs are all possibilities during visits with a qualified expert. While chatting with your therapist, you decide on the medium, intricacy, and style of your artwork.

Emery Mikel, the originator of Water & Stone Creative Arts Therapy, begins each session by having her clients create a tiny drawing. This starts a dialogue between the two of them. “Offer art tools and pose specific questions or directives that hone in on something the client is expressing, feeling, or uncertain about,” Mikel says during this time. Mikel said they’ll wrap up their meeting by deciding on a goal for the following week.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy entails a wide range of musical and auditory stimulation. During a session with a professional, you might listen to a recording, perform an instrument, or sing. As patients respond to what they hear, music therapy attempts to elicit emotion and memories in them.

Music can also be relaxing because it lessens anxiety and stress in people. While your music therapist won’t teach you how to play a new instrument, rhythm, tempo, and volume will allow you to express yourself. You can harmonize with a music therapist even if you have no musical training.

How Do I Find a Therapist?

Hospitals, nursing homes, and community organizations may employ art and music therapists.

They can also work independently from home, usually as an out-of-network supplier.

Local groups may offer free art or music therapy sessions if you can’t afford it.

“Finding the proper therapist and taking the time to create rapport, aids a person in doing in a secure atmosphere,” says art therapist Mikel.

Creative therapy can help people cope with and resolve disputes regardless of their age, gender, or health situation. Patients with mental problems have continued to benefit from art and music therapy. Increasingly insurance companies are cooperating with art and music therapists to provide coverage as complementary therapies become more popular.

Individual & Private Therapy Cost

Private therapy costs vary depending on where you reside and, in some situations, your annual income. Individual therapy is frequently the most expensive, so plan to pay at least $150 per hour session. You may be able to get lower rates if your income is low.

Couples Therapy Cost

Couples counseling costs differ based on the specialist you see and where you live. Counselors that specialize in couples and family counseling typically bill between $70 and $250 per hour. Because standard rates vary across the country, the price you pay will be influenced by where you live. Expect to pay between $120 and $250 per hour as a couple in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example.

Marriage Counseling Cost

The cost of family and marriage counseling varies between $70 and $250. For family counseling, you should expect to pay an average of $100 each session across the country. Individual therapy is excellent for addressing personal emotional triggers when it comes to strengthening the relationship, but marriage counseling can be invaluable because you get to work through your issues and come up with solutions together rather than taking a stand against issues within the relationship on your own.

Group Therapy Cost

When a counseling center or therapist believes that the group’s collective experiences may assist the individuals in it move forward, they may offer group therapy. Members of the group support one another, improve their communication skills when it comes to their needs and challenges, and act as a sounding board for their particular thought processes.

Group therapy may be a good alternative if you want to cut down on the costs of counseling. Multi-session group treatment rates, for example, are often offered instead of paying $200 per session, and can be as little as $700 for an 8-week course.

Depression Therapy

As experts get a better understanding of depression, it’s becoming clear that a mix of talk therapy and medication is usually required. The final cost of depression therapy will be determined by the degree of your depression in proportion to your treatment needs.

If you don’t have insurance or don’t qualify for sliding scale therapy, you should expect to pay $100 to $200 per hour to see a psychiatrist. The expense of depression medication will be added on top of everything else.

Grief Counseling Cost

Grief therapy is usually charged at the same hourly cost as psychologists, which is usually between $70 and $150. Because grieving is not considered a mental illness, your insurance plan may not cover it.

Sex Therapy Cost

Sex therapy normally costs between $100 and $200 per hour, depending on the region where you seek treatment. The rates you pay will be determined by who you choose as your therapist, especially in terms of their qualifications and experience.

Average Cost of Anger Management Classes

You should expect to pay between $50 and $150 per session depending on where you go for anger management programs. There are a variety of programs available, and in some situations, an all-day group anger management program may be had for as little as $200 per day.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Cost

Your premium may pay most, if not all, of your therapy if your insurance plan includes behavioral medicine or psychotherapy. Private practices, on the other hand, often charge roughly $200 each session.

How Much Does Art Therapy Cost?

Various art therapy programs are available across the country, some of which cost $250. Art therapy classes are sometimes provided for free by local community organizations. Expect to pay at least $100 per hour for more extensive art therapy.

Why is therapy not covered by insurance?

The poor relationship between therapists and insurance companies is one of the main reasons why many therapists choose not to take insurance. Working with insurance typically results in therapists earning much less money or having to complete a massive amount of paperwork for which they are not rewarded. Before getting their licensure, therapists must have a master’s degree and years of registered intern hours. Despite their expenses, many people might work more than 50 hours per week and earn less than $50,000 per year.

Does insurance have to cover therapy?

The Mental Health Parity Act of California, as revised in 2020, mandates that all state-regulated commercial health plans and insurers provide complete coverage for the treatment of all mental health and drug use disorders.

Does Medicare pay for art therapy?

Individual and group therapy.Activity therapies, such as art, dance, or music therapy. Medicare Part B covers outpatient mental health care, including the following services: Education and training (such as training on how to inject a needed medication or education about your condition)

Is there a demand for art therapists?

Since 2004, the overall job outlook for Art Therapists has been good. During that time, job openings for this profession have expanded by 32.76 percent nationwide, with an average annual growth rate of 2.05 percent. Demand for Art Therapists is expected to increase, with 26,660 new jobs expected to be filled by 2029.

Do art therapists make good money?

Raja Aossey used painting to cope with the loss of a family member when he was in high school. She now teaches others how to use art to heal themselves.

Raja is a therapist that specializes in art. She creates and leads art activities to help students with special needs feel better.

What they do

Art therapists work with a variety of clients in a variety of settings. Some, like Raja, work in schools, where they interact with kids of various ages in groups or one-on-one sessions. Many more work in medical settings including community clinics and psychiatric institutions, where they may assist patients with physical or mental illnesses. Others run their own practice, catering to a wide range of clients.

Art therapists, however, use art and psychology on the job regardless of where they work or who their clients are.

Art. Every client has different requirements, but Raja believes that for some, the creative process is valuable in and of itself. “She claims that “the intrinsic act of making art, getting your body involved in what you’re making, is beneficial.” People who have difficulties focusing, for example, may find that working with clay helps them to become more grounded. Painting, on the other hand, can aid in the release of emotion.

Art therapists plan projects based on their knowledge of how different art media and techniques can affect people. Raja may, for example, ask students to create an image depicting aspects of their past that they would like to forget. She can then ask them to design an image that reflects their future and highlights the good aspects they want to emphasize. “It encourages them to consider what they want to change about themselves and who they want to become,” she explains.

Psychology. An art therapist with a background in psychology can assist clients in better understanding themselves and achieving certain goals. Clients are encouraged to reflect on the art they have created by the art therapist. “It’s about investigating things they’re trying to absorb but can’t express vocally,” Raja explains. “They may not be ready to talk right away, but having someone there can help.”

When clients are ready to process their feelings, the art therapist may suggest strategies to assist them cope with their problems. An art therapist, for example, might work with clients to help them build coping skills or behavior-change techniques.

Other responsibilities. Art therapists also conduct assessments, prepare treatment plans and summary reports, and meet with colleagues to review a client’s progress. And, among other things, they keep up with research and techniques.

Art therapists who run their own practice typically have more duties, such as charging customers and marketing their practice.

Rewards and challenges

There are numerous advantages to using art therapy. Perhaps the most rewarding experience for art therapists is seeing the beneficial impact their practice has on others.

However, dealing with people isn’t always easy, and art therapists sometimes have to engage with clients who are already struggling. Some clients, for example, may become aggressive against others, resulting in potentially dangerous circumstances.

Art therapists frequently address difficult aspects of their jobs in the same way that they recommend their clients do: through artistic self-expression. Raja explains, “Personal artmaking helps me digest what’s going on or how I’m feeling.”


You must be creative and have a desire to help others to work as an art therapist. Excellent listening and communication skills, patience, and a curiosity in human behavior are also required.

Get a feel for what it’s like to work as an art therapist. You could, for example, volunteer with people in a situation where art therapists usually work, such as cancer patients in a hospital. If you want to pursue this career, you’ll need to first obtain a bachelor’s degree; viable majors include studio art and psychology. After that, you’ll need a master’s degree in art therapy, which may include counseling training as well.

Applicants to most approved art therapy programs at colleges and universities must present a portfolio of artwork as well as a transcript of studio art and psychology course credits. A practicum, which incorporates observation and practice for course credit, is commonly included in graduate programs. You must also do an internship, during which you will get supervised experience working with customers or patients.

Each state has its own licensing requirements. These practitioners can get licensed as art therapists in some areas. Other states enable those who are licensed in another field, such as professional counseling, to work as art therapists. The Art Therapy Credentials Board offers professional credentials such as registration and certification.

Jobs and pay

Data on art therapists is not collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Instead, the BLS classifies this employment as “therapists, all other,” which employed 11,770 people in May 2014 and paid a median annual pay of $55,900. The American Art Therapy Association has over 5,000 members in the United States, and according to a 2013 poll, most art therapists earn between $30,000 and $80,000 per year.

Despite the fact that the number of these workers is expected to grow, art therapists may not have a specific occupational title. “If you’re solely seeking for art therapy jobs, you won’t find many,” Raja adds. “However, there are a lot more options if you’re looking for community jobs where you can apply what you’ve learned, which for me meant looking into licensed professional counselor positions.”

And, no matter what you call it, Raja argues, this work is satisfying. “I enjoy building relationships with the youngsters and seeing their enthusiasm,” she says. “I want to go to work every day because of their enthusiasm.”

Does therapy go on your permanent record?

There are just as many clients who come to treatment with symptoms that do not constitute a mental health diagnosis as there are who do. Major depression, generalized anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and alcoholism are examples of these diagnoses.

For clients suffering from these problems, it’s not surprising that their therapist would record their diagnosis and treatment approaches, as well as their efficacy on the presenting concerns.

This information is kept private if you don’t utilize your insurance. Your therapist – and you, if you want to look at their paperwork – are the only ones who have access to this information. Your diagnosis, treatments, case notes, and symptoms become part of your permanent record when you use your insurance to pay for therapy. It’s not as if you can erase this information once you’ve finished treatment and are symptom-free or no longer require therapy.

When you apply for new health insurance, life insurance, or even a job, you may be asked to sign a release authorizing them to access your medical records. Given the probable changes in the healthcare business, it’s possible that people will be denied coverage based on pre-existing diseases, such as mental health diagnoses, once again. Even if you are able to obtain coverage, you may face a significantly higher premium as a result of having previously had treatment for a mental health diagnosis.

A mental health diagnosis can have a significant influence on persons who are self-employed (or may ever be) and need to obtain insurance benefits on the open market.

Is a therapist considered mental health?

Behavioral health is the study of the relationship between one’s actions and one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. This would cover how lifestyle choices such as eating, drinking, and exercising affect physical and mental health.

Behavioral health, on the other hand, “nearly solely refers to practices that prevent illness or improve health” during the 1970s and 1980s, according to the MEHAF. Later on, the phrase was expanded to cover habits that aid in disease management. Behavioral health has been expanded to include mental health.

Other definitions of behavioral health demonstrate the term’s broad scope.

According to the National Business Group on Health, behavioral health refers to mental health, psychiatric, marriage and family therapy, and addictions treatment, and includes services offered by social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, neurologists, and physicians. Behavioral health encompasses a continuum of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for both mental health and substance abuse.