UCSD Student Health Insurance for Therapy

San Diego, to many, seems like a paradise with its gorgeous ocean views and lovely weather. However, being a student comes with many stressors — the pressure of earning good grades, transitioning into an independent adult, finding a social group with whom you feel a deep connection. Tritons are no exception and sometimes we all need some help with boosting our mental health and well-being.

Read on below to learn more about your mental health coverage with the the University of California San Diego student health insurance plan. We’ve made it simple to understand the costs so you can begin your search for a vetted, high quality therapist in San Diego near you!

What is the UCSD student insurance?

Because all students must have health insurance, UCSD offers a student health insurance plan that is called the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP). This health insurance plan covers medical and mental health services. For the 2020-2021 year, the cost for this insurance for undergraduate students is $692 per quarter and for graduate students is $1,285 per quarter. This plan offers coverage for the entire academic year and following summer, even if you graduate.

Anthem Blue Cross PPO powers UC SHIP, meaning that students with this insurance plan have access to the Anthem network of providers.

Does the UCSD student insurance cover therapy?

Yes, UC SHIP covers therapy sessions! There are four types of providers that UC SHIP covers:

  • Providers at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Providers at UC-affiliated clinics
  • In-network providers
  • Out-of-network providers

Read below to see how much each type of provider costs for a therapy session.

How much does therapy cost with the UCSD student insurance?

The amount of money you pay per session depends on which type of provider you see. All therapy sessions conducted through the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) come with no charge. When seeing a provider within the UC-system, there is a $5 copay per session. In-network Anthem providers will require a $10 copay per session (deductible waived), and out-of-network therapy sessions have a 60% coinsurance (that means that you pay 60% of the session fee).

Don’t let this cost deter you from finding an out-of-network therapist! Sometimes hearing the phrase “out-of-network” sounds intimidating, confusing, or bad. But out-of-network doesn’t mean that you’re on your own paying for therapy! It means that you have insurance coverage to access hundreds of therapists across San Diego and California, even if they aren’t within the Anthem provider network. This can certainly open the doors for you to find a great therapist with whom you feel a deep connection!

How many providers are there near campus?

While there is a sizeable list of in-network with UC SHIP (Anthem Blue Cross), there are hundreds of out-of-network therapists from which to choose. These therapists include specialists, therapists with diverse identities, styles, personalities, and different locations.

How do I check if my UCSD student insurance plan covers therapy?

When scheduling an intake or first appointment, be sure to ask the therapist or counseling session about your insurance coverage - they will be able to share with you the amount of coverage you have and how much (if anything) you’ll owe each session.

What mental health conditions does the UCSD student insurance cover?

There are many reasons people seek therapy and UC SHIP covers most of them, including:

During the first few sessions with your therapist, you will receive a diagnosis. This is important because it is necessary for the insurance company to have a diagnosis in order to cover your session.

If you prefer not to use your insurance, feel free to ask your therapist if they accept sliding scale payments.

What types of therapy does the UCSD student insurance cover?

UC SHIP covers most types of therapy, including outpatient and inpatient therapy services, as well as different types of therapy approaches, including:

The therapies covered must be evidence-based and for the betterment of a mental health diagnosis.

What types of therapy does the UCSD student insurance NOT cover?

There is not a lot that UC SHIP doesn’t cover (though there may be copays or coinsurance), which is great news for your well-being! However, UC SHIP does not cover life coaching or experimental therapy types. All therapy must be provided by a credentialed therapist in order to be covered.

Does the UCSD student insurance cover online therapy?

Yes and it’s encouraged! With many therapists only offering online therapy sessions now, UC SHIP will cover teletherapy services as well as in-person sessions. This makes therapy more accessible for people with packed calendars, since you get to ditch the travel time!

Does UCSD provide any free counseling services?

Yes, you can find free therapy services through the UCSD Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office. However, the services offered through CAPS are deemed short-term only, meaning that the UCSD clinician will determine how many sessions you receive based on the situation. If you find that you would benefit from long-term therapy, ask for a referral to an off-campus therapist.

Do I need to go through the UCSD counseling center first before seeing an off-campus therapist?

Yes, you will have to go through the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office first to receive a referral for off-campus therapy. Without this referral, UC SHIP will not cover any of your therapy sessions.

When should I seek off-campus instead of on-campus therapy?

While you must start with an on-campus therapy session in order to receive a referral, there may be certain reasons why you might prefer an off-campus therapist, including:

  • Long term therapy: Because of the limit on therapy sessions through the UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), you might not have the chance to meet all of your therapy goals. Seeking therapy off-campus ensures that you will have the opportunities to work towards all of your therapy goals.
  • Waitlist: WIth such a large student body, there can be a lengthy waitlist to receive therapy through CAPS. If you prefer to begin therapy right away, finding an off-campus therapist might be a faster route.
  • Specializations: If you’re looking for a specific type of therapy, you might not find it through CAPS. For example, if you were interested in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, finding a qualified therapist off-campus ensures that your treatment will include what you’re looking for.
  • Preferences: Sometimes, it’s important to separate yourself from school. By seeing a therapist on-campus, you might find yourself still feeling like a student - whereas receiving therapy from an unaffiliated provider gives you the chance to escape the school atmosphere. You might also have a preference in therapy personality or identity that is unavailable through CAPS.