Mental Health Coverage for Post-Secondary Students in the GTA

December 6, 2019

By: The Layla Team.

Busy schedules, pop quizzes, study sessions, midterms, extracurriculars, final exams, part-time jobs, relationships, social challenges, family problems--anyone who is a student can tell you that student life can have a trying effect on mental health.

In fact, a 2016 study of Canadian post-secondary students found that 60.6% of respondents had experienced higher than average stress levels within the past year. The same study found that 64.5% of students had experienced overwhelming anxiety in the past year and 28.5% had within the past two weeks. When asked if they had felt “so depressed it was difficult to function,” 44.4% said they had within the past year, and 17.1% within the last two weeks.

You may have noticed this issue being covered in the news this past year, as Toronto students have been demanding better mental health support from their institutions in response to rising mental health concerns, tragic incidents on campuses, and on-campus resources that are struggling to keep up. 

We want to learn more and understand how post-secondary students can be better supported. A first question that came to mind is one that we often receive from our post-secondary clients:

"Do students at my school have coverage for mental health services? How much is covered?"

Students experiencing mental health challenges have access to counselling and free resources provided by their college or university. But what if a student is in need of additional support, is facing long wait times to see an on-campus counsellor, or is more comfortable accessing services off campus?

Post-secondary students who are opted into their university or college health insurance plan do have coverage for private mental health care services. This means they have coverage to see therapists or counselors in their community who do not have wait lists and specialize in areas they are looking to address. In our experience however, students don't always know what kind of coverage they have. If students in need of mental health support don’t know what coverage they have for mental health services, or even that they have coverage at all, they will be much less likely to reach out and access these services. That’s a problem.

So how much coverage is available? And what kinds of mental health care providers are covered? We looked at institutions here in Toronto and have shared our findings below. If your institution is not listed, we encourage you to contact the student services at your school to find out what coverage you have available to you.

(Psst! Are you a student interested in seeing a therapist using your school's insurance coverage? At the end of this post you'll find a bit more information about how to go about this!)

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

https://www.utsu.ca/health/

  • Part-Time Students (APUS):
    $125 for up to 20 visits - $2500 total (Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Registered Social Worker)


RYERSON UNIVERSITY


YORK UNIVERSITY

Undergraduate Students:

Graduate Students: 

Dependent on the plan the student opted for.

Coverage for combined services of Psychologists, Registered Social Worker and Registered Psychotherapists or Speech Therapist:


MCMASTER UNIVERSITY


SENECA COLLEGE

Dependent on the plan the student opted for.

For combined services of a clinical psychologist or speech therapist, if recommended by a physician:

  • Balanced or Enhanced Drug Plan: 80% up to $300
  • Enhanced Dental Plan: $20 per treatment up to $300 
  • Enhanced Extended Health Care plan: 90% up to $400 for above  AND 90% up to $400 for social worker if recommended by physician
    https://wespeakstudent.com/home/14-seneca-college


GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE

HUMBER AND GUELPH-HUMBER COLLEGE


Dependent on the plan the student opted for.

Coverage for combined services of a clinical psychologist or speech therapist, if recommended by a physician:

  

ONTARIO COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN UNIVERSITY (OCADU)

CENTENNIAL COLLEGE


Note: This blog was last updated in December 2019. Insurance policies may have changed since this time. Coverage may vary based on what campus a student is at, whether they are full-time or part time, or what version of the health plan they opted into. At some schools, students who are Research or Teaching Assistants qualify for additional coverage. 


Are you a student interested in looking for a therapist off-campus?

  1. Find out what you’re covered for.
    Take a look at the list above or contact your school’s student services. Take note of:
    -The amount of coverage you have.
    -The types of providers you are covered for. (Ex. You may be covered for Psychologists or Registered Social Workers but not Psychotherapists.)
    -If you need a referral to be covered. As you will have seen in the list, some insurance plans only cover visits to a therapist when they have been recommended by a physician.
  2. Find a therapist. It can be difficult to find a therapist by Googling or asking around. Services like Layla can help connect you with a therapist who is a good fit based on convenience, specialization and interpersonal fit (without a wait-list)!
  3. After your appointments, be sure to keep the receipt that your therapist provides. You will use this for your claim.
  4. Submit your claim to get reimbursed.
    Every school is a bit different, but most often you will need to submit your receipt along with a completed claim form. You can find instructions on how to do this on your school’s insurance site, for example University of Toronto students will look for a page like this one. Some insurance providers, such as Studentcare, even have apps that you can download onto your phone and submit claims through! 

    Submitting your first claim can definitely be a little confusing, but after that you’ll be a pro! Don’t be afraid to contact your school, the insurance company, or ask someone for help submitting your claim.