- Do you need support in losing weight?
- Are you having trouble sleeping?
- Are you dealing with strong feelings related to your chronic illness?
- Do you need help staying compliant with your diabetic nutrition plan?
- Do you need support in adjusting to a new medical diagnosis?
Mental health visits account for 20-30% of all primary care visits. This percentage is higher when you consider the behavioral components related to medical conditions, such as behavioral modification, lifestyle change, and therapy compliance.
Does My Insurance Cover Psychological Therapy for My Medical Condition?
Not many people realize that some insurance companies offer coverage and reimbursement for psychological therapy related to their medical conditions. As of recent, psychologists can now bill third-party payers for health behavior assessment and intervention (HBAI) services.
What are HBAI Codes?
Psychologists use HBAI codes when billing for services that help patients deal with medical symptoms and disorders. Such therapy includes reducing psychological symptoms or barriers to healing, improving patient adherence to medical treatment and supporting patients as they manage their physical illness. Psycho-oncology, for example, is a field of psychology devoted to the psychological health of cancer patients as they manage through their illness.
What Are Some Examples to Use HBAI Services?
Below are some examples here HBAI codes would be utilized:
- 60-year-old male with heart disease, chronic back pain and obesity seeks health behavior services to improve his treatment compliance and engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors.
- 40-year-old female with breast cancer undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy, experiencing insomnia and depression with difficulty adhering to her medication routine and struggling with self-image issues.
- A 29-year-old obese female post-bariatric surgery with poor adherence to a new nutritional diet is referred by her primary care physician for health behavior intervention.
When billing for health behavior intervention services, you must have a medical diagnosis, such as insomnia, obesity, cancer, or diabetes. You do not need to have a mental health diagnosis for these codes to apply. Psychologists may submit fees for services directly to your insurance company or provide you with a “superbill” so that you can request reimbursement. The psychologist you see will likely coordinate care with your physician to ensure that you are receiving comprehensive care.
Do All Psychologists Perform HBAI Therapies?
If you are struggling with a medical condition and are looking for psychological help, HBAI codes may help to cover therapy expenses. Before you schedule an appointment with a therapist, you should contact your insurance company and ask if they cover HBAI expenses. Also, not all psychologists provide HBAI services, so ask the office staff before making an initial consultation. Health psychologists working in hospital or private practice settings commonly use HBAI codes to bill for services.