Updated: May 9
Are Calgary Psychological Services Covered By Benefits?
How Do You Know If Your Services Are Covered?
When it comes to different types of health care coverage, there can be a lot of confusion over what treatments are included or not. While more traditional services, like dentistry, doctor’s visits, and prescription fulfillment form the basic core of benefits packages, others that branch off from this – like massage therapy, chiropractic, and of course, psychological counselling – are more variable. And when you’re in need of help, the last thing you want to be worrying about is getting an unexpected bill at the end of your session.
With so many different benefits plans and rules in Calgary and in Alberta, how can you be sure that your services are covered?
Checking Your Benefits Plan
Before we look closer at benefits, it’s important to know how healthcare in Alberta works. While some professions, and even specific health care providers, are regulated, others are not – affecting everything from how prices are set, to licensing requirements, to membership in organizations. These regulatory bodies take responsibility for protecting the public, and ensure that active practitioners have the right education and experience to be treating Albertans. Usually, benefits plans cover any practice performed by a regulated provider.
In Alberta, basic services like a doctor visit are covered by the provincial health plan, but anything outside of that scope likely is not. Insurers like Blue Cross, Great West Life, and SunLife each have their own sets of requirements, principles, and best practices, and it often falls upon the patient to check for themselves what is included in their benefits packages.
Fortunately, these days it’s fairly simple to go online and find out not only how much is available to you for services like psychologists and counselling, but also if there are any recommended providers and the best way to use those benefits. SunLife Insurance, for example, has a list of providers on their website, where you can find us and our psychologists (with over 300 5-star reviews between them). A quick search of both the benefits/insurer terms and the provider’s site should give you everything you need to figure out coverage.
Another factor to be aware of: some insurers and benefits administrators have contracts with specific networks of healthcare providers. Sometimes these are flexible and not mandatory, but in some instances, you may have to choose from a predetermined group of options if you want to be fully covered or reimbursed.
Using Your Benefits
At Flourish Psychological Services, since our psychologists are registered as professionals in Alberta, we have found that nearly all health insurers will cover their costs, up to a certain amount per year. Sometimes, we are even able to direct bill them, negating the need for you to pay up front and be reimbursed later.
If you have checked everywhere and you’re still unsure if your benefits will cover a session, here’s a useful document that contains all the information you need for the Alberta healthcare system. Alternately, you can simply give us a call to find out more! We have dealt with many insurers over the years, so we’d be more than happy to use our experience to help you out.