Many students find that frequent, long-term, or specialized services in the community are a more appropriate fit for their presenting problems and/or treatment goals. PACS staff are happy to assist students in finding community referrals. Please note that PACS does not endorse any specific community provider.
Below are some important steps you can take as you navigate the process of connecting with a community provider.
Learn What Is Covered by Your Insurance Plan
Every insurance policy is different. Policies differ in terms of what providers you can see or how often, whether a referral is required, the amount they will cover, etc. Good ways to find out about your insurance policy include: calling your insurance company (you can do this by calling the 800 number on the back of your card), looking them up on their website (creating an account may give you more specific information about your plan), or reviewing your policy brochure. If you are on your parents’ plan, it may be helpful to consult with them. Your counselor can help you think through how to have a conversation with your parents.
Questions You Can Ask Your Insurance Provider
- Do I have to see someone on the provider list or do I have out-of-network coverage?
- If yes, where can I get a copy of an updated provider list in my area?
- Is there anything I need to do to have my counseling sessions covered by insurance?
- How does my coverage differ if I see a participating provider vs. a provider outside the network?
- How many sessions can I be seen? Is there an annual limit?
- What is the percentage copay for sessions? Or, is my copay a flat rate?
- Do I have a deductible that I must satisfy before receiving benefits? If yes, how much?
- Do I have to fill out any paperwork to be pre-approved prior to seeing a therapist?
- How do I submit claims for payment?
- What information will you need from my therapist in order for my claims to be paid?
- Where do I send my claims?
- Approximately how long does it take to receive a reimbursement (if seeing a therapist out-of-network)?
Scheduling an Appointment
In order to schedule an appointment, you will often have to leave a message on a confidential voicemail. Be sure to call from a quiet place, and repeat your name and phone number clearly and slowly. If your schedule is busy, it may be helpful to provide some best times to return your call when you leave a message.
You can leave a message like this:
“Hi, my name is ________________, and I am interested in [counseling OR psychiatry}. Please call me back at this number ____________. The best times to reach me are ________________ and _____________.”
When you speak with the provider, have your schedule ready and know the times you are available to meet in-person.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Are you currently accepting new clients?
- How soon would an appointment be available?
- Do you still take ____________ insurance for payment?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- What are your policies about payment? Do I need to pay the co-pay at the first visit?
- Where is your office located? What are the transportation/parking options?
- Is there anything else I should be aware of?
If you are reaching out to a potential mental health provider by email, note that email is not a secure or confidential mode of communication. Avoid giving any information other than what is suggested in the phone script above.
Getting to Your Appointments
When selecting a provider, you may want to consider your transportation options. Wildcat Transit provides free shuttle service to and from Dover, Newmarket, Portsmouth, and Rochester. As you consider potential appointment times, you may want to look at the shuttle schedule and consider the added travel time as it fits into your schedule.
If you have further questions about the referral process or if an urgent situation arises, you are encouraged to call or visit PACS. Additionally, PACS counselors are available for urgent same-day appointments, as needed.
For emergencies when PACS is closed, please call PACS at (603) 862-2090 (Relay NH: 1-800-735-2964). If it is after hours, please follow the prompts. You may also call 911 in the event of an emergency.