When most people think of injuries caused by car accidents, they think of physical problems like whiplash and concussions. Mental health problems are every bit as serious though. Whether it’s short-term feelings of anxiety or something more pronounced like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you need to be sure to take care of your mental health.
Fortunately, your ICBC insurance includes coverage for counselling services. Let’s look at how ICBC subsidized counselling works and what you need to know before seeing a counsellor.
How No-Fault Benefits Work
ICBC includes what’s known as no-fault benefits. This means that you’re entitled to these benefits no matter who was at fault in the accident.
These are also known as “Part 7 Benefits.” The Regulations to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act covers these benefits in Part 7, which is where the term comes from.
Part 7 benefits cover anyone who is in an accident in British Columbia as well as any BC resident that is in an accident anywhere in North America. The coverage may be provided through ICBC or it may be provided through an insurer from another region.
BC law requires out-of-province insurers to provide at least the same level of no-fault benefits as you receive in BC when a vehicle enters the province. This means you can rest easy that you’ll be covered regardless of where the other driver is from and who is at fault in the accident.
What’s Covered Under the New ICBC Rules
New ICBC rules came into effect on April 1, 2019. These rules expanded the coverage you’re entitled to after an accident. The benefits now include acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, kinesiology, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, doctor visits, and counselling.
The expanded coverage also includes day-to-day help such as homemaking services if you are unable to perform them due to the accident. Wage loss coverage is also included in situations where you are unable to work for a certain period of time.
Before April 1, 2019, you needed to get a doctor’s referral to these health care services to have them covered by ICBC. Under the new rules, you no longer need a referral.
Within the first 12 weeks, you can get treatment at your discretion and the practitioner can bill ICBC directly. The number of approved treatment varies for different services but for clinical counselling, you’re entitled to up to 12 treatments over those 12 weeks.
If the counsellor you choose doesn’t bill directly, you can submit your receipts to ICBC for reimbursement. If that’s the case, the reimbursement request must be submitted within 60 days of the treatment date.
ICBC will cover up to $120 per visit for those 12 visits. If your counsellor charges more than $120 per session, you will be responsible for any extra cost. If you have extended health insurance through your job or privately, it might cover the difference.
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What If You Need Counselling for More than 12 Weeks?
The 12-week limitation is intended to streamline the process in situations where you don’t need longer-term care. It saves you time since you can arrange for the services without having to consult with a doctor or your ICBC claim adjuster first.
And it saves ICBC money since they don’t have to pay the doctors’ fees for these referrals. For long-term care over 12 weeks, however, ICBC still requires you to go through these channels to ensure you’re getting the proper care.
If it’s determined that you’ll need more than 12 weeks of counselling services, you’ll need to get a referral and you’ll want to speak to your claims adjuster to be sure they’re aware of your situation.
Your health care practitioner might also get assistance from a registered care advisor (RCA). An RCA is a medical professional that offers independent consultations to accident victims when the recovery isn’t going as expected.
An RCA may suggest further treatment options that can help your doctor or other health care practitioner with your care plan.
Signs That You Might Benefit from Counselling
There are several common symptoms of trauma after being in a car accident including:
- Fear of getting back behind the wheel
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Fatigue or low energy
- Muscle tension and headaches
If you’re suffering from any of these things, consider counselling as a possible solution. It can help you take back control of your life and feel normal again.
This is particularly important if you need to drive on a regular basis, whether to and from work, to shuttle your kids to their activities, or to run simple errands. Anxiety about driving can make it extremely stressful whenever you have to get behind the wheel.
Book Your ICBC Subsidized Counselling as Soon as Possible
Under ICBC’s new rules, you are eligible for 12 counselling sessions any time within the first 12 weeks from the date of the motor-vehicle accident.
Book your first counselling session as soon as possible after the accident. This will also give your counsellor as much time as possible to assess your condition and take the necessary steps if they feel you’ll need more than 12 weeks of treatment.
Choosing a Counselling Service
Counselling is a very personal treatment so you need to be sure you’re working with someone you’re comfortable with. ICBC subsidized counselling might be paid for by the insurance company but it’s up to you to choose the right counsellor to work with.
Well Beings Counselling is highly committed to your emotional health and personal growth. Our practice is growing every year as a result of our dedication to service and the personalized treatment we offer to all our clients.
We have three locations so we’re convenient to most areas in the Lower Mainland. If you’d like to discuss your situation to see if we would be a good fit, we offer a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.
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