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Psychologist Fees, Insurance and EAPsFees, Insurance and EAPs

In the province of New Brunswick, the fees for consulting a psychologist in private practice are not covered by Medicare.

However, there are options to ease this expense including employee medical health insurance benefits, EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs) and the income tax deductions including travel expenses to and from your appointments.

Due to the extensive and increasing costs of becoming and remaining EMDR certified (and licensing with the CPNB), the fee for a one hour therapy session with Anne is $200.

Medical Health Insurance Benefits

Many employers include health insurance as part of the benefit package they offer their employees. Most of these insurance plans cover part or all of the costs for a visit with a psychologist. Some examples of these plans are Blue Cross, Great West, Sunlife or Manulife.

All health insurance plans are different. There are different plans within the same insurance company and even different plans within the same employer. Your Blue Cross plan might be different than your neighbour's. It might not even be the same as your coworker's.

Some plans cover 100% of the cost while most will reimburse 70-80% of the cost of your therapy session. Some insurance benefits have a limit on the amount you can claim each year (most are $500) and some are unlimited.

Let's assume your plan will reimburse your expenses at 80% up to $500 per year which is really only $400 of coverage (80% of $500). This means that a session costing $200 will cost you $40 and your health insurance plan $160. You will be able to attend three therapy sessions, two of which will be 80% reimbursed, the third will be partially reimbursed and any further sessions will not be reimbursed.

Let's see how this works..

 Therapy Sessions

 Total Cost

Reimbursed by Plan

 Your Cost

 1st Therapy Session




 2nd Therapy Session




 3rd Therapy Session




 4th Therapy Session




 Total Costs




You might have noticed that your plan only paid up to $400 and not the "up to $500" as advertised.

This is a common misconception. Any sessions after these three will not be eligible until the next calendar or insurance year. Most large group plans operate on a calendar year regardless of when you started your job or health insurance plan.

Employee Health Insurance Benefits Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need a prescription or referral from my doctor to see a psychologist?

While you do not need a prescription or referral from your doctor to begin therapy with a psychologist, you may need one to obtain reimbursement from your health insurance policy. Many insurance plans do not require a referral from your doctor but some do.

It is always best to contact your human resources department or the health insurance company first.

 2. Does Anne offer direct billing with Blue Cross, Great West etc.?

At this time none of the health insurance companies allow direct billing for consultation with a psychologist. You might have noticed that many dentists, physiotherapists, massage therapists etc. can direct bill, but psychologists cannot at this time. The only option right now is to pay for your therapy session in full and submit the invoice to your insurance company for reimbursement.

3. If I use my employee health benefits for therapy will my employer know?

Anne will not report any information to anyone, not your employer nor any health insurance company. Your health insurance company will send a report to your employer's human resources department outlining how much their employees have used of the health insurance plan. There are no specifics but employers need to know how much of the plan is being used in order to make changes or budget for the next year.

4. Can I choose the psychologist I want to consult?

Most, if not all, health insurance companies allow you to choose which psychologist you receive services from. Some may have limitations on how much the psychologist can charge (or the maximum the insurance company will reimburse) but allow you the freedom in choosing the best psychologist for you. As policies can change at any time it is always best to contact your insurance company first.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Some employers offer their employees (and their families) a different kind of benefit called an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or an EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program).

EAPs and EFAPs usually include mental health services such as assessment, screening, short term counselling/therapy and referral services. They are designed to support employees and their families who are experiencing individual, marital or family issues that are affecting the employee's personal and work life.

EAPs and EFAPs were designed to support you during a specific time period, crisis or for a specific issue rather than general counselling. For this reason, they will usually limit the amount of covered sessions according to the recommendations of the attending psychologist and their (the EAP's) general guidelines.

All EAPs and EFAPs are different as they are customized to meet each employer/employee's needs. They were originally created for work related difficulties but now offer support for anxiety, depression, anger management, marital difficulties, other mental health issues and even physical illness.

All EAP and EFAP consultations and/or referrals are provided at no cost to you and are 100% confidential. All billing takes place between the provider (Anne) and the EAP or EFAP.

EAP and EFAP Benefits Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the process if I want to use my EAP to see a psychologist?

Contact your human resources department or the EAP/EFAP plan first. EAPs and EFAPs usually have a list of approved psychologists they have a contract with. They have a list of psychologists as they need to negotiate a payment arrangement with the psychologist first before sending clients. Anne is approved by many EAPs/EFAPs but if she (or your preferred psychologist) is not on yours it is best to contact your EAP/EFAP and request that he or she be added.

2. Will I have to prepay and then be reimbursed if I access a psychologist's services through my EAP/EFAP?

No. All EAPs and EFAPs pay 100% of the costs of therapy with an approved psychologist. You will never be asked to pay any costs for an EAP/EFAP approved psychologist consultation. The psychologist will have previously entered a contract with the EAP/EAFP and will simply invoice the EAP/EAFP directly.

3. How many therapy sessions will my EAP/EFAP pay for?

All Employee Assistance Programs are different. Many will pay for as many sessions as required for the issue at hand or crisis, while some have a limit of 5 or 6 sessions. If a new issue comes to light you may have to apply again to your EAP/EFAP program.

Income Tax Deductions for Psychologist Expenses

All fees incurred from a consultation or therapy session with a psychologist are a legitimate medical expense that can be deducted from your taxable income. There are three ways you can reduce your taxable income:

  1. The actual cost of your therapy session.
  2. Transportation expenses (at least 40km)
  3. Meal expenses (at least 80km).

Psychologist Medical Expense Deduction

Psychologists are approved medical practitioners in the province of New Brunswick.

Simply keep your psychologist's invoices and add them up at the end of the year for completing your income tax return.

Psychologist Travel Expense Deduction (40km or more)

You might be surprised to find out you can claim travel expenses associated with your psychologist visits as well if you live 40 km or more from your attending psychologist's office. You can claim $0.495 per kilometer driven to your therapy sessions.

Keep track of your appointments (using the invoices and reminder emails) and a small notepad to record your mileage for each trip.

Psychologist Meal Expense Deduction (80km or more)

If you live 80 km or more from your psychologist's office you can claim your mileage as above as well as meal expenses (up to three depending on distance). You can either keep your meal receipts or simply use the flat rate of $17 per meal.