Paying for Mental Health Services

Financial concerns should not prevent you from getting help. There are options available and people prepared to assist you with arranging for payment and finding answers to your insurance questions.

Mental health services at U-M are most often paid for in one of four ways:

  • student fees that are paid as part of tuition
  • health insurance
  • student’s own funds
  • accessing free services

Student fees are paid each semester as part of tuition by students who are currently enrolled in classes on the Ann Arbor campus. Students who are not taking classes during Spring/Summer terms are NOT considered currently enrolled U-M students during that time. Student fees cover:

  • All services available at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Most services available at University Health Service (UHS) including clinician visits, laboratory testing and x-rays. For more details about what is and what is not covered, see the “free or fees?” section of the University Health Service (UHS) website.
    • Note: Tuition insurance is no longer available at the University of Michigan as of Fall 2017.


Health insurance may pay for mental health care not covered by your student fees, such as long-term counseling, medication, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, or other services. Insurance policies vary in the amount and type of mental health care they will pay for, so it is important to become familiar with your insurance plan, and be prepared to ask questions. Also, make a copy of the front and back of your insurance and prescription plan cards in case you ever lose them.

Before coming to campus, call the number on your insurance card and ask:

  • “Does my insurance policy pay for mental health services in Ann Arbor, Michigan?”
    • This is especially important for students coming from outside the state of Michigan, since many insurance policies only cover treatment received within a specific geographic area.
  • “Which mental health services are paid for by my insurance policy (i.e. office visits, medication, inpatient treatment)?”
  • “Can I see the provider of my choice or is there a ‘preferred list of providers’ I must choose from? What happens if I want to see someone who is not on that list?”
  • “Is there a yearly limit on the number of counseling visits covered?”
    • Insurance plans often limit how many counseling or psychotherapy sessions they will cover in a given year. Once you exceed this limit, you are responsible for paying for the full cost of additional sessions.
  • “Does my plan exclude certain diagnoses or pre-existing conditions?”

When deciding to seek care, call the number on your insurance card and ask:

  • “Will my insurance plan pay for the services I need? If so, will they pay the entire cost?” Some costs that you may be responsible for include:
    • Costs for services not covered by your insurance plan.
    • Co-pays. Most insurance companies require you to pay a small amount of the total charge (called a co-pay) each time services are accessed. Many offices expect payment at the time of service.  
    • Deductibles. Your plan may require that you pay a set amount towards your care (called a deductible) before your insurer will cover any expenses. Find out whether your insurance plan includes a deductible and the amount of the deductible.
    • The amount of your insurance plan’s usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) coverage. Often insurers will reimburse charges at a given percent based upon the amount typically charged by health care providers for similar services in that geographic area. You can ask if a specific provider fee meets the UCR criteria (for example, “My psychiatrist fee for medication management is billed at $125. Is this within the UCR coverage?”
  • “Do I need any approvals (such as a referral from my primary care provider, precertification or prior authorization) before the services are provided?”

When calling for an appointment, ask the facility where you will receive care:

  • “Do you accept my insurance?” and “Will you bill my insurance company?”
  • “How do you bill for treatment?”
    • Even if you have insurance, you may be required to pay the entire bill and then be reimbursed by your insurance company.


Before coming to campus, consider purchasing the U-M-sponsored Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan or the International Student and Scholar Health Insurance Plan.

When deciding to seek care, remember that free and low cost services are available. If you are a currently enrolled U-M student, you can receive free mental health services at CAPS and mostly free medical services at UHS.

  • Contact the facility where you would like to receive care to learn how much the services will potentially cost.
  • Ask if they offer a sliding scale fee. Even some health care providers that don’t advertise it may be willing to make arrangements to accommodate your financial circumstances. Ask to speak to the financial office to explore your options.
  • Sliding Scale Fee
    • You may be eligible for a sliding scale fee if you have no insurance, if your insurance does not cover the treatment you want, and/or you are not currently enrolled. This means that the healthcare provider will charge according to what you can afford based on your household income and financial circumstances.
    • If a sliding scale fee option is available, bring proof of income (tax forms, pay check stubs, etc.) for your entire household with you to your first appointment, or ask the clinic what you need to bring to your first appointment.


If you have concerns about how you will pay for medication:

  • Talk with your prescriber. They can work with you and will likely be aware of available medication assistance programs or can direct you to someone who can help.
  • Consider purchasing the generic brand of your medication if one is available. Generic drugs are chemically identical to their branded counterparts but are often sold at a much lower price. Ask your clinician during your visit if a generic brand is available.   
  • Ask your pharmacy if they have any discount prescription programs. Pharmacies at major retailers such as Target, Kroger, and Walgreens may offer discount programs for commonly prescribed and generic medications, including psychiatric medications.


    • Search for medication and see a list of all related patient assistance programs.
  • Patient Assistance Program
    • Free or low-cost prescription medicine provided to people with limited resources, who are uninsured or under-insured, and who meet certain guidelines. Many medicines are provided to these programs by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture them.



Get Help Now - Crisis Text Line 741-741 // Call U-M Crisis Phone Line: (734) 936-5900 or (734) 996-4747