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Private health insurance and counselling

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Make sure you use a therapist who is accredited with an organisation that is recognised by your insurer (stock photo)

Make sure you use a therapist who is accredited with an organisation that is recognised by your insurer (stock photo)

Make sure you use a therapist who is accredited with an organisation that is recognised by your insurer (stock photo)

Does health insurance cover counselling visits?

Not all private health insurance plans cover counselling visits. A selection of Irish Life Health (ILH) plans cover half of the cost of visits to a psychotherapist or counsellor, up to a limit of 12 visits a year and an annual cap of €1,000. One such plan with this cover is 4D Health 3. A number of ILH plans also cover €25 of the cost of a visit to a clinical psychologist - up to a maximum of seven or 10 a year. In addition, all ILH hospital plans cover up to six counselling sessions (by phone, web chat, video or face-to-face) through the insurer's Healthy Minds benefit. A number of VHI plans cover either €75 or €100 of the cost of a counselling session (up to 12 visits a year). A selection of VHI plans also cover a certain amount of visits to a clinical psychologist each year (up to €100 per visit).

A number of Laya plans cover up to half of the cost of adult counselling sessions with a psychologist, with some policies having a limit on the number of visits covered a year and the extent of the bill covered. Most Laya plans also offer access to counsellors.

What about cover for child counselling?

Over half of ILH plans offer cover for teen or child counselling, according to a spokesman. Cover ranges from €30 per visit (up to a limit of three visits a year) to up to half (or €50, whichever is the lower) of the cost of a visit (up to a limit of 10 visits a year). VHI covers child counselling on 60 of its plans. Cover is either €25 per visit (up to seven visits a year) or €30 per visit (up to eight or 12 visits a year). The VHI plan with the best cover for child counselling visits is PMI 3814. To qualify for cover for child counselling with VHI, the child must be referred by a GP or consultant to a clinical psychologist. Laya covers child counselling on 60 of its plans. Its Simply Connect plan covers half the cost of a child counselling session (up to eight a year).

Any conditions?

Make sure you use a therapist who is accredited with an organisation that is recognised by your insurer. To be covered for counselling and psychotherapy, "ILH requires psychotherapists or counsellors to be accredited members of the IACP or the ICP", said a spokesman. "Psychologists should be an accredited member of the IACP or a member of the PSI." ILH and VHI require clinical psychologists to be "a full member of the division of clinical psychology of the PSI". For cover for adult counselling, Laya recognises full members of the PSI; for child counselling, it recognises full members of the IACP, PSI and ICP. You face a 26-week wait for cover for counselling visits if you have just bought private health insurance with VHI and are over 50, or with ILH and are over 55. Laya Healthcare, however, has no waiting periods for day-to-day cover.

Sunday Indo Business