Neurofeedback is biofeedback from brainwaves that provide valuable data to mental health practitioners on your involuntary responses to external stimuli. Put simply, it measures how our brains respond to events by providing live information through a computer-based software program. From this real-time feedback, patients are taught over time how to control their responses to stimuli that trigger unwanted emotional reactions. This kind of therapeutic intervention has proven successful at helping with mental health issues such as epilepsy, ADHD, PTSD and anxiety. But as the technique is disputed in some circles, approaching the subject of neurofeedback insurance can be tricky. That’s because it all depends on your insurance provider and how you justify your reasoning for treatment.
Using Neurofeedback for Mental Health
There are incredible benefits to using neurofeedback therapy to regulate the brain’s responses to emotions. In effect, you can take control of your unwanted thought patterns by using positive reinforcement methods to rewire the brain’s circuitry. During treatment, electrodes are placed in areas on the head where a pattern of brainwaves — alpha, beta, gamma, delta and theta — is picked up and recorded as visual or auditory signals. These signals are sent back to the patient, who then has to complete tasks that encourage positive reinforcement. There are various types of neurofeedback options. One of the most popular is the LENS method, which uses frequencies to help heal the brain. For the best results, two to three sessions per week is needed with feedback from a professional. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive therapy used by an estimated 3000 psychiatrists and other health professionals worldwide to tackle an array of disorders. There has been a vast improvement in patients with schizophrenia who have opted to go the neurofeedback route. Even NASA has used the therapy to improve pilot concentration levels. Other areas where neurofeedback is demonstrably effective include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Clinical depression
- Hyperactive disorders
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Diseases such as stroke, brain cancer and aneurysms
- Anger management
Is There Neurofeedback Insurance?
Neurofeedback is gaining in popularity, but it still isn’t accepted as mainstream science. So, does insurance cover neurofeedback? The answer is yes and no. Some insurance companies do cover neurofeedback, while others will only cover it for certain diagnoses. When it comes to brain insurance, your best bet is to do the research before signing up for any kind of medical coverage. If you are prone to mental health issues, opt for insurance that is open to covering a wide range of therapies. Many insurance companies believe these kinds of therapies still require further research and yield inconclusive results. You might be wondering, “Does Medicare cover biofeedback?” It does, but you’ll have to justify why you need neurofeedback. Medicare considers biofeedback on a case-by-case basis. You are covered in cases where there is misfiring between signals and neurons in the brain. Factors such as age and reason for therapy would be considered in other cases. Additionally, children are not covered under Medicare. Most brain centers require some kind of payment up front, but will prepare the insurance claim forms for you to submit. If you’ve done your research, your insurance company should reimburse you.
What Are Payment Options for Neurofeedback?
Because neurofeedback is considered an ancillary service, it Isn’t common to get neurofeedback insurance. If it acts as part of a wider treatment plan, you’ll likely be reimbursed for a higher percentage from Medicare and Medicaid. Get a quote before you proceed with your session and discuss a discounted self-pay rate. Discounts often range from 10% to 30% if you pay up front. You can usually negotiate a payment plan with most in-office neurofeedback centers. On average, one session costs around $75 — but to make a difference, at least ten sessions are required. Overall, you can look at paying anything from $750 to $1,125 for an in-office treatment plan. There is the option to rent your own machine, which costs roughly $650 per month, but you would need to have experience in reading the data. General populations will get the most out of the inpatient treatment plan with the advantage of professional feedback and support received on-site.
How Can You Check Your Coverage for These Options?
Your first step is to chat with your insurance company and do your own research about neurofeedback insurance. Insurance companies refer to neurofeedback as “biofeedback” on their claims. Start by asking your insurance company if the service is covered under psychological or medical, and request a list of ailments that they cover. Always be sure to document the conversation and ask for the name of the consultant. If they can email you a document or transcript of the conversation, you’ll have documentation of the query in writing, which can be useful later on. Don’t forget to ask whether pre-authorization and a letter from a physician is needed, as well as — most importantly — how many weekly sessions are covered. You might want to also ask the percentage of the total that will be reimbursed and if an up front co-payment is needed. A few of the physical ailments that are covered include insomnia, headaches, migraines, concussion, IBS and Raynaud’s. On a more psychological level, disorders such as ADHD, learning disorders and other cognitive issues are covered as well.
Keep Your Brain Healthy
Your brain health is important. Your mental state can be affected by PTSD, addiction, stress and physical disease. Because a long list of factors can affect your well-being, it’s important to keep your brain functioning at an optimal level. Neurofeedback can help to retrain your brain and rewire neurons to ensure more positive reactions to your triggers. If there are concerns that biofeedback might not be enough and you need to enlist the help of a professional, contact Sun Health Center to find a solution. Our cutting-edge therapies will help you to find a suitable way forward with your unique needs in mind. Sun Health specializes in individual care, detoxing and treatment in residential centers, and works with most insurance companies.