Handling Your Referral
Some information borrowed from The George Washington University
Your Referral to Off-Campus Services
The CSU Student Accident and Sickness Plan is from Aetna Student Health, a subsidiary of the Aetna Company. For claim inquiries, benefit information, or pre-certification, they can be reached at 1-877-375-4244. For Rx claims, pharmacy location, or prior authorization, they can be reached at 1-800-238-6279.
You and your CCSU counselor may have discussed your concerns and the resources that might be of help to you in resolving them, and you have been provided with a referral to off-campus services. Your next step is to work with your counselor to connect with services that are as affordable, accessible, and appropriate as possible.
For many students, college is the first time they have taken responsibility for his or her own health care. It may be the first time for knowing where to go for help, articulating your symptoms or concerns, making an appointment, finding your own way to your doctor's office, talking with your family or others concerned for your wellbeing, or following through treatment recommendations.
This section will provide you with information and guidance as you get connected to the mental health support you need. You should not hesitate to call your CCSU counselor to help you through the process.
Making the First Call
After your CCSU counselor gives you the names and numbers of off-campus providers (which are also available at http://www.aetnastudenthealth.com), make your first calls as soon as possible to get the process started. If you need company or support making these calls, you might ask a friend or CCSU counselor to sit with you as you do so.
Don't be surprised if you get an answering machine. Leave a message something like this:
"Hello, my name is Lee and I was referred to you by Central Connecticut State University's Counseling and Wellness Center. I'd like to discuss the possibility of working with you. Please call me back at (860) 885-0000. The best time to reach me is before 10am or after 7pm. Thank you."
Here are some good questions to ask a potential provider during your first phone call:
- I have Aetna Student Health insurance. How would we handle my insurance claims? What are your fees and payment policies?
- My concerns have to do with (anxiety, depression, grief/etc.). Is this something you work with?
- Would you please give me directions to your office?
Getting to Your Appointment
Get directions and determine in advance your mode of transportation. Leave plenty of extra travel time for your first appointment.
Be in Touch
If, for any reason, you are going to be late or miss the appointment, call your provider to let them know. In many cases, if you do not give your provider 24 hours notice you, not your insurance company, will be charged the entire fee for session. If you have trouble connecting with a provider, contact your CCSU counselor for assistance or additional referrals.
Dealing with Insurance
Know Your Insurance Plan
You are not required to use your insurance to pay for private care, but most people do. Keep in mind that you are responsible for paying any fees you incur that are not paid by your insurance. If you have some other insurance policy, determine your policy's requirements by contacting your insurer directly. If you are on your parents' plan, you may have to speak with your parents to gain access to your insurance. Your CCSU counselor can help you think through how to have such a conversation with your parents, or he/she can speak to your parents for you (with your written permission).
Work With Your Insurance Company
You must work directly with your insurance company and your off-campus provider to file insurance claims. Every insurance policy is different, so you must take responsibility for finding out how your insurance policy works. Policies differ in terms of which providers you can see or how often, whether a referral is required, the amount of your coverage, etc. Good ways to find out about your insurance policy include calling your insurance company on the phone, looking them up on the web, or reviewing your policy brochure.
Learn the Terminology
Below are some general descriptions of insurance terms. Refer to your own in Provider - the professional or facility providing you with a service.
Claim - The request submitted to your insurance company by either you or your provider, asking them to help pay for the services you receive. Some policies require that the provider submit the claim and be reimbursed directly by the insurance company; other policies require that you pay your provider then submit a claim.
Deductible - The amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company will begin to help cover your bills. For example, if your policy has a $100 deductible, you must pay the first $100 of the fees you incur for that insurance year.
Co-pay - The amount you pay for a service in addition to whatever your insurance company pays. For example, your insurance company may require that you co-pay a certain amount (e.g., $20) or a certain percentage (e.g., 20% of the bill) per visit, while the company pays the rest.
Benefits - The types of services and costs that your insurance policy covers. For example, some policies have no outpatient mental health benefits, or require a referral/approval in advance, or have a "cap" or upper limit of payment, or require that you use only their "preferred" providers. You must determine the benefits of your policy by contacting your insurance company or by reading your policy carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my health insurance pay for off-campus care?
Health insurance, whether through Aetna or some other plan, can often help with the cost of off-campus services. Your counselor can help you with insurance referrals. The best source for information about your coverage and benefits, however, is your particular insurer.
Why can't I always see a counselor/psychiatrist on campus?
The CCSU Counseling and Wellness Center is intended to provide short-term counseling, referral and crisis management. If a student needs services that the Counseling & Wellness Center is unable to provide, that student will be referred to other resources. Your mental health support may need to be more specialized, extensive, or immediately available than the services that can be provided on campus. The Counseling & Wellness Center has access to a psychiatrist on the premises for a limited amount of hours each month. If a student is already taking medication or there is some question about the medication, your counselor will work with you and your insurance company to locate a referral source in the community for you.
Additionally, counselor availability is limited during the summer sessions. You may want to independently seek an outside referral for the sake of immediacy.
Why do some students prefer off-campus care?
Some students prefer to go off-campus rather than see a counselor at the Counseling Center. It can feel more private to have your own therapist off-campus rather than to come in to the Counseling Center. There is a wider choice of therapists off-campus. Some services simply aren't available at the Counseling Center, such as neurological services, intensive individual psychotherapy, alcohol and drug detoxification/treatment, impatient services, etc.
All I need is a prescription refill - why can't I get that at the Counseling Center or Student Health Services?
If you are on medication for a psychological/psychiatric condition, it is important that your medication be well-supervised, even if your condition has been stable for a long time. Excellent psychiatric services are available to students throughout Connecticut and in many cases insurance can help with the cost or sliding fees can be arranged. The Counseling Center can help with referrals for psychiatric services.