Brown University Student Health Insurance for Therapy

Brown University requires all students to have health insurance while enrolled. Because of this requirement, they offer a health insurance plan through UnitedHealthcare, a major health insurance company that provides coverage for millions of people across the country. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) offers students many benefits for mental health services, including therapy.

Does the Brown University student health insurance cover therapy?

Yes, Brown University student health insurance provides coverage for therapy services. Brown University dedicates itself to the health and wellbeing of its students and therefore values the accessibility of services, including mental health services. The Brown University SHIP includes coverage for seeing both in-network therapists and out-of-network therapists. It uses the UnitedHealthcare provider network, as the Brown University SHIP partners with UnitedHealthcare for its healthcare insurance policy.

How do I check if my Brown University student health insurance plan covers therapy?

To check if the Brown University SHIP covers therapy services, head over to your Summary and Benefits document. You can find your specific school’s policy information through the Gallagher website or through UnitedHealthcare’s StudentResource page. Within the policy documents section, you’ll find the Summary and Benefits document. This document shows the different rates of coverage — including copayment or coinsurance amounts — for each type of service available. Look for the line that includes “outpatient mental/illness/substance use disorder” to see your coverage for therapy.

Example UnitedHealthcare Student Insurance Summary of Benefits, with Outpatient Mental Health section highlighted.

If your Summary and Benefits document does not share this information with you, give the phone number on the back of your insurance card a call. The Brown University SHIP customer service department will share with you the coverage available to you through your specific university’s plan.

How much does therapy cost with the Brown University student health insurance?

Therapy with Brown University SHIP will cost $15 each session with a therapist who is in-network with UnitedHealthcare.

If you choose to see a therapist who is outside of the UnitedHealthcare network, you’ll still have some coverage — but not as much as if you saw an in-network therapist. Your cost will be the same $15 copay as well as a 70% coinsurance. This means that you’ll be responsible for 70% of the therapist’s session fee. If your therapist charges $100 per session, you’ll pay the $15 copayment plus $70.

This cost may change across school years. To find the most accurate information on therapy costs, refer to your specific plan’s Summary and Benefits document.

What types of mental health conditions does the Brown University student health insurance cover?

The Brown University SHIP covers many mental health conditions, including those that are common in the student population. UnitedHealthcare requires that each client receives a diagnosis from their therapist for reimbursement purposes. This diagnosis guides treatment and insurance coverage.

Examples of eligible mental health conditions include:

There are many more diagnosable — and reimbursable — mental health conditions, all of which the Brown University SHIP covers.

What types of therapy does the Brown University student health insurance cover?

The Brown University SHIP covers many different types of therapy provided by credentialed professional therapists. As long as your therapist provides an evidence-based, clinically rigorous therapy modality that is appropriate for the given diagnosis, you’ll receive coverage.

These evidence-based therapy modalities include, but are not limited to:

Often therapists blend their therapy approaches. As long as they meet UnitedHealthcare/s requirements, their services are eligible for reimbursement.

What types of therapy does the Brown University student health insurance NOT cover?

The Brown University SHIP only provides coverage for therapy costs associated with services that are evidence-based. This means that all treatment modalities need to have empirical research backing their efficacy.

The Brown University SHIP does not cover life coaching and career coaching, as these disciplines are less based on evidence and are more reliant on goal-setting and achievement outcomes. There is also no coverage for holistic approaches to treatment like aromatherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, reiki healing, or nutritional therapy. They also do not cover ketamine, psychedelic, or hypnosis treatments, even if the purpose of this treatment is for a mental health condition. This plan also does not cover Biofeedback therapy.

Does the Brown University student health insurance cover online therapy?

Yes, the Brown University SHIP offers coverage for online therapy. This opens the doors for many clients who aren’t able to physically attend therapy sessions each week, whether for a physical limitation or because of the constraints of a busy student schedule.

Your coverage for therapy costs will remain the same, whether you visit your therapy in-person or online. This includes the same copayments or coinsurance rates.

Students at Brown University also have access to UnitedHealthcare StudentResources’ HealthiestYou, an online resource with mental health information and access to therapists.

Does the Brown University student health insurance cover couples therapy?

No, the Brown University SHIP does not provide coverage for couples therapy. Often, health insurance companies do not have mental health benefits for couples because of the lack of a reimbursable diagnosis, so it is not uncommon for this health insurance plan to deem couples therapy ineligible.

However, many couples still benefit from seeing a therapist together. If your health insurance plan does not include a couples counseling benefit, there may be ways to decrease the cost of couples counseling, such as sliding scale. You might also find this service through the Brown University Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS) office with a school therapist.

Do I need to see my primary doctor before starting therapy?

No, you do not need to see your primary care physician before starting your search for an excellent therapist. This is because the Brown University SHIP is a PPO, meaning you do not need a referral for specialist services.

So when you’re ready to start your mental health journey, you’re all set with therapy coverage!