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Finances | Overview

Many caregivers are concerned about their ability to pay for their child's hospitalization or whether it will be covered by insurance. Insurance is usually the primary method of payment for an inpatient hospitalization. If you have insurance, the crisis clinician or intake worker who assesses your child before admission to the Inpatient Psychiatry Service (IPS) will obtain initial authorization from your insurance company.

It is helpful if you know your insurance plan's mental health benefits. Most insurance companies have a mental health toll-free number (generally shown on the back of your insurance card) that you can use to ask about coverage, including the number of days of inpatient psychiatric care allowed per year, any co-payments or deductibles you must pay, and whether the plan considers Boston Children's Hospital's unit "in-network" or "out-of-network."

If you do not have insurance, or if your child's mental health benefits run out, you may be eligible for Massachusetts Medicaid (MassHealth). Your child's clinician can help you begin this process. Our nurse case manager is available to assist with any questions that arise related to financing your child's stay.

Payment tips

  • Keep written records to help with insurance requests.

  • Keep copies of all correspondence — incomplete records are the primary factor when insurers refuse to pay for a service.

  • Sort out insurance details with a mental health care advocate.

  • Get help if something isn't clear in a notice from a public or private agency.

*From The Parents' How-to Guide to Children's Mental Health Services in MA; Boston Bar Assoc. with support from Boston Children's.