Finding Your Community Provider

Finding community providers for mental health can be complicated.  CAPS would like to make this process as easy as possible.  We encourage you to follow along with the video, or check out our information below.  If you have any difficulty or get stuck in any way, please reach out to CAPS.

For those who would like to use health insurance:

ONE: Contact Your Health Insurance

a)  Call the 1-800 number on the back of your insurance card.
b) After giving them your insurance information, ask about coverage or benefits for mental health care ("outpatient services"). More specifically, you may ask about deductibles, copay amounts, session limits, and coverage in your current area.
  1. Deductibles: this is the amount you’ll have to pay "out of pocket" at the beginning of each year before your insurance kicks in and begins paying any expenses for you. After the deductible has been met, you’ll only be responsible for the co-pay or co-insurance. (Ask: how much is my deductible?)

  2. Co-pay/Co-Insurance: this is the amount that you’ll have to pay yourself at each appointment. If you’re worried about affordability, come to CAPS - we can help you discuss options! (Ask: how much is my co-pay/co-insurance per session?)

  3. Session limits: in some cases, health insurance plans only cover a limited number of mental health sessions per year. If you do have a session limit, knowing this information can help you distribute your sessions throughout the year. (Ask: does my plan have any session limits?)

  4. Coverage in your current area: this is especially relevant if your health insurance is regionally based. If you are from out of state, it may be important to ask if you have coverage here in Ann Arbor. (Ask: do I have coverage in Ann Arbor, MI?)

  5. What can I say? ​

Example Prompt:​ Hello, I'm calling to find out more about my mental health care insurance benefits.  More specifically, could you tell me what my deductible and copay are?  Do I have any session limits?  Do I have coverage in my area?  Is there anything else I should know about my benefits?

*  They may even be able to give you a list of providers.

*  If you’re currently on your family’s health insurance, you can ask them for help with any part of this process. If privacy from your family is a concern for you, you have options. Click HERE for a helpful guide.

TWO: Search For A Provider That Meets Your Needs

a) There are many databases that you can use. One database we would recommend is the University of Michigan Community Provider Database.
b) You can narrow down the search using your criteria such as health insurance, location, provider's expertise, social identities, etc.  
c) Make a list of 3-5 providers that you feel may be a good fit for you.  Other qualities to take into consideration include passions, highlighted areas of experience, treatment styles, or perceived personality.

THREE: Contact Your Provider

a) Be prepared by having your health insurance card ready as well as your schedule for the next 1-2 weeks.
b) Example prompt to start the conversation:
Hello, [provider name]! My name is [your name] and I’m interested in seeking therapy/psychiatry. After doing some research, it seems like you might be a good fit for me. I was wondering what your availability looks like.
*  Providers may not be available to take your call, so you might be asked to leave a message. The same prompt can be used for leaving a message - just make sure you leave your contact information. 

For those who would don't have insurance or don't know:

I'm not sure if I have health insurance

First, ask your family. Families can have their children on their health insurance until they turn 26 years old. If your family tells you that you don’t have health insurance through them, then it’s almost certain that you don’t have health insurance. Why? Because at that point, obtaining health insurance would occur only through the actions of yourself.

I want to have health insurance

If you don’t have health insurance, but you are interested in obtaining or navigating health insurance options, there are resources to help you do so.
a) The Managed Care / Student Insurance Office, located on the second floor of U of M’s University Health Services (UHS), can help you through all parts of this process.
b) The Managed Care / Student Insurance Office can help you look into acquiring health care through the federal Marketplace (also known as the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare) or the state (e.g. Medicaid).
*  Open enrollment for health care through the Affordable Care Act generally happens on a yearly basis, but there are exceptions. Find out if you qualify for this type of health insurance on their website.  
*  You can enroll for insurance through Medicaid at any point during the year. Learn how to apply for enrollment on their website.

I don't want health insurance

If you don’t have health insurance, and don’t want to set it up, there are several great options for you in the community. These agencies offer affordable sliding fee scales, which means that the amount you pay for each appointment varies depending on your income - the less income you make, the less you owe for an appointment, and vice versa. For a current list of these agencies, please contact CAPS.

Contact your provider

After you have looked into some of these options, you will want to contact providers in your order of preference to check for availability. Here’s an example prompt to start the conversation.
Hello, ____. My name is ____ and I’m interested in seeking therapy. After doing some research, it seems like you might be a good fit for me. I don’t have health insurance, but I heard that you have a sliding fee scale. Could you tell me more about that?
Providers may not be available to take your call, so you might be asked to leave a message. The same prompt can be used for leaving a message - just make sure you leave your contact information.