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Last updated:
19/10/2018

How do I pay for private mental healthcare?

  1. Overview
  2. What is private mental healthcare?
  3. Why would I choose to go private?
  4. How do I access private mental healthcare?
  5. How do I pay for private mental healthcare?
  6. What are my rights?
  7. Next steps

Paying directly

You can pay directly for your private treatment, which is known as ‘self-paying’. Some services offer fixed price schemes or loans, or you might be able to pay in instalments. If you are on a low income, you may be able to get lower fees for certain types of treatment (for example counselling). 

You should ask about charges and get a breakdown of costs before your treatment. You should get a quote beforehand, which will help you decide if you can afford it before going ahead.

You should ask about charges and get a breakdown of costs before your treatment. You should get a quote beforehand, which will help you decide if you can afford it before going ahead.

Medical/ health insurance

If you have medical or health insurance you can find out if the insurance policy covers the treatment or care you need. You should ask your insurance company about this first.

Many insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing mental health conditions. If they do, they might charge higher premiums (how much you pay for your insurance), or more excess (how much you are charged if you need to make a claim). This is generally because they will think that mental health conditions are a higher ‘risk’.

The insurance company might also have its own list of specialists that you must use. This might limit your choice in terms of who treats you.

Most insurance companies usually need you to have a referral from a doctor.

How much does private mental healthcare cost?

This will vary depending on what sort of treatment you want or need, where you go, and whether you have medical insurance. You should consider:

  • The cost of an initial consultation or assessment (which usually costs between £150 and £250),
  • How long you might need treatment for,
  • How many sessions of treatment you might need, and
  • Whether you will need to stay within a residential unit for treatment (which means you would have to pay for accommodation, food and other extras).

What about confidentiality?

Confidentiality means that the professional you see should not tell other people personal things about you. The only time they can do this is if you give them permission to do or it is absolutely necessary (for example, if you said you are going to harm someone).

Your private healthcare provider may contact your NHS doctor or team to let them know about your treatment or things you discuss. You should speak to them about this beforehand. You should ask your private healthcare provider about their confidentiality policy when you see them, and what this means in terms of telling NHS services.

If you think your private healthcare provider has broken this, you can complain. You can find out more about how to complain here. You may want to ask your private healthcare provider to see a copy of their confidentiality policy.

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What is private mental healthcare?
  3. Why would I choose to go private?
  4. How do I access private mental healthcare?
  5. How do I pay for private mental healthcare?
  6. What are my rights?
  7. Next steps
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