USC Student Health Insurance for Therapy

Joining the Trojan family comes with a built-in support network of classmates, professors, staff, and alumni. However, throughout their time at USC, many students might feel alone or that they have trouble feeling connected with others. Additionally, the stress of classes, tests, sports, and social networks drive others to find ways to improve their mental health.

We’ve made it easy for you to find a great, vetted therapist in Los Angeles that takes the USC insurance – so you can keep Fighting On!

What is the USC student insurance?

The USC student insurance is powered through Aetna, a large health insurance company. USC sponsors two plans: one for on-campus students (University Park Campus) and one for off-campus students (satellite campuses and online). It is required that you have health insurance, whether the USC student insurance or another plan.

The cost for the 2020-2021 time period (August to August) is $2116 for on-campus students and $4009 for off-campus students.

Does the USC student insurance cover therapy and how much will I pay?

Yes, it does! There are three types of therapists, according to this Aetna plan - and the costs to you vary based on the type:

  • Select Care providers: (on-campus through student health center): You will be responsible for a $20 copay each session, deductible does not apply
  • In-network providers: You will be responsible for a $20 copay each session, deductible does not apply
  • Out-of-network providers: You will be responsible for 50% of the therapy 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 Los Angeles and California, even if they aren’t within the Aetna 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?

Thanks to the size of Los Angeles and its unmatched dedication towards mental health and emotional well-being, there are many therapists in-network with Aetna. However, the list of covered therapists expands when you look at out-of-network therapists - which includes specialists, therapists with diverse identities, styles, personalities, and different locations.

How do I check if my USC 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.

Feel free to reference the Summary and Benefits for more details on your coverage.

What mental health conditions does the USC student insurance cover?

There are many reasons people seek therapy and the USC insurance 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 USC student insurance cover?

This insurance plan 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 USC student insurance NOT cover?

Like most insurances, this plan will not cover anything deemed “medically unnecessary” - which explains why your therapist will give you a diagnosis at the start of your time together. This insurance does not cover life coaching or experimental (non-evidence-based) therapies.

Does the USC student insurance cover online therapy?

Yes and it’s encouraged! With many therapists only offering online therapy sessions now, this insurance plan 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 USC provide any free counseling services?

Yes, you can find free therapy services through the Counseling and Mental Health Services office. However, these services are deemed short-term only, meaning that the USC 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.

Students also have the ability to tap into a mental health service called Inpathy from various states across the US.

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

No, you will not currently have to get a referral in order to start therapy with an off-campus provider. Historically, you would need to visit an on-campus therapist, however this has changed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

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 USC therapists, 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 on-campus. 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 USC. 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 the USC therapist network.