How Much Does TMS Therapy Cost?

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated August 3, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Depression is a mental health condition that can profoundly impact an individual's life, even with the support of a therapist depression symptoms may continue. Though there are many options for treating depressions symptoms such as counseling, talk therapy, medication, and treatment, not all may work for every person. 

Treatment effectiveness can vary depending on the symptoms, severity, and individual needs. TMS therapy can be a rewarding option for some people who experience severe depressive symptoms or treatment-resistant depression. When considering a new treatment to improve your mental health, you may want to understand its costs.

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What Is TMS Therapy?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, often called TMS therapy, is a procedure that is used to treat depression and chronic pain. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in a person's brain. Pulses of magnetic stimulation have been found to improve the symptoms of depression.

TMS therapy is not a treatment needed by everyone with depression, but it may help when other treatments have not been effective. If you're living with severe depression and struggle to find relief using conventional treatments, TMS could work for you. 

Therapy and antidepressants work for many people, but they may present challenges for some. TMS could be a supplemental treatment in addition to therapy or medication in these cases. TMS therapy was designed for patients with conditions that have not responded to other treatments. It may not be indicated as the first option for treatment but discuss your possibilities with your doctor if you're unsure. 

Even though the TMS treatment cost may be high, it has gained popularity for its effectiveness. For many, the cost is worth the price. If you're interested in TMS treatment, talk to a mental health professional or your primary care physician to see if you meet the FDA clearances to receive it. You may need a referral from a medical doctor to receive the treatment, and your insurance might not cover the procedure. 

The Process Of TMS Therapy

The transcranical magnetic stimulation therapy treatments may feel simple for many patients. Clients may sit in a comfortable chair and wear earplugs while the TMS procedure occurs. The procedure often takes around 40 minutes to complete. You will be awake and alert the entire time, and you may feel minor scalp discomfort. If you experience pain, alert your doctor. 

Success Rate Of TMS 

The TMS therapy success rate is often high. Harvard reports a 50-60% success rate of symptom reduction for most patients. About 20-30% of those patients experienced complete remission and reported no more symptoms after treatment. TMS therapy has proven to be an effective option for patients who cannot find relief through traditional means or are experiencing treatment-resistant depression.

Some people who undergo TMS therapy experience immediate relief from their depressive symptoms. Others might feel relief in the weeks or months after having the treatment. Although treatment can be quick, TMS therapy is often done in multiple sessions. Some treatments may involve receiving TMS therapy multiple days per week for several weeks.

TMS therapy might also benefit other conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as chronic pain. Discuss this treatment option with your mental health professional if you are living with these conditions and nothing else has benefited you.


Is TMS FDA Cleared?

For many patients, knowing whether or not TMS is FDA-approved is essential before starting treatment. TMS therapy is FDA-approved for major depressive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, the treatment may not be FDA-approved if recommended for another condition. Discuss your options with a mental health professional or medical doctor before attempting a new treatment for your symptoms. 

If you plan to pay for TMS with insurance, your provider may only offer coverage for treatment that is FDA-approved to treat certain conditions. So even if your mental health professional refers you to TMS, your insurance may not pay if the treatment is not federally offered for your condition.

How Much Does TMS Cost?

Most major insurance companies cover treatment and therapy for major depressive disorder. For some people, TMS therapy may be cost-prohibitive. Though healthcare providers might offer a free consultation, sessions of TMS can cost between $400 and $500. The TMS treatment cost can vary because many people require a series of TMS therapy sessions to see results. Studies show that TMS can cost from $2,000 to $11,000, your exact TMS cost depends on your age and the number of sessions utilized. 

Because TMS therapy has been proven effective for many mental health conditions, some major insurance companies cover the cost of TMS treatment. However, some may not. If it is covered, the amount of coverage can vary depending on your insurance plan. Not everyone is covered for TMS treatment by insurance. Therefore, before proceeding with TMS, check with your mental health provider and insurance company to see if you are covered before proceeding. 

Will Insurance Cover The Cost Of TMS Therapy?

Like many forms of therapy, major insurance companies might cover the cost of TMS therapy. Since it is often an FDA-approved course of treatment, more insurance companies may add the procedure to their list of coverages. However, every insurance provider has different policies, and your policy may vary from that of other states. 

Though many insurance providers offer coverage for mental health services, they may not cover all types of treatment. Some insurance providers and plans may completely cover the cost of TMS therapy. Other insurance providers may cover the cost of limited mental health services or reimburse you partially for the costs paid. 

Medicare is a provider that has insurance coverage for TMS for some individuals on a Medicare plan. However, the amount of coverage may depend on your overall plan, diagnosis, and medical provider's notes. Another insurance company that offers TMS therapy coverage is Blue Cross, Blue Shield. The organization offers coverage for TMS therapy for some adult patients experiencing severe major depressive disorder or treatment-resistant depression. Speak to your insurance company if you're unsure whether they would cover the treatment in your case. 

Some insurance providers may not cover the cost of TMS treatments for conditions outside of depression. Others may not cover the condition at all. In these cases, you might have to pay out of pocket for the treatment. However, clinics may work with you on pricing, as some offer a sliding scale fee. If you are using insurance, check with the clinic or doctor who will complete the procedure to ensure they accept your insurance plan. 

Preparing For TMS

You may undergo a physical examination and a psychological evaluation to prepare for TMS therapy. People who have certain medical implants may not be able to participate in TMS. Some metal implants or devices can cause problems when they interact with magnetic fields. If you have stents, implanted stimulators, a pacemaker, a medication pump, cochlear implants, or bullet fragments in your body, you may not be eligible for TMS therapy. Speak to your doctor about these items before treatment to reduce the chances of an accident or medical emergency. 

TMS therapy may also not be recommended for people with certain medical conditions. Those with a history of seizures or those who are pregnant may not be able to partake in TMS. Also, tell your doctor if you're taking prescription, over-the-counter medications, supplements, or vitamins. 

Are There Risks To Using TMS?

TMS therapy is considered safe. It is non-invasive, and clients may not feel any physical discomfort during the process. A patient can also remain awake during the 40-minute session. However, there may be side effects to consider. 

Some TMS therapy patients experience headaches due to magnetic pulses. Others have reported feeling lightheaded after receiving these treatments. Spasms, muscle cramps, and tingling sensations are also possible side effects of TMS therapy. There is a minor chance of seizures although the TMS official website states that it is lower than a 1 in 80,000 chance. 

Discuss treatment options with a mental health professional or doctor before making an informed decision. Even if TMS is not a fit, other treatments may be available. 

Should I Consider Other Therapies?

Before considering TMS therapy to treat depression or any other mental health disorders, consider other treatments, including talk therapy and medication. In addition to being expensive, TMS therapy may not work for every condition or symptom. 

Lifestyle Changes 

It may be possible to improve depressive symptoms through lifestyle changes, like exercising more frequently. Exercise releases positive endorphins in the body, which can improve mood over the long term. However, if you're looking into TMS due to other treatments not working, lifestyle changes may impact you less. 

Electroconvulsive Therapy 

ECT treatment, also known as electroconvulsive therapy, is another option for those with severe depression. It may allow for molecular changes within the brain to encourage better communication between neurons. Like TMS therapy, ECT is another option that people use when other treatment methods have not been successful.

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Counseling Sessions 

Cost may get in the way of some treatment options for depression. In these cases, online counseling may be beneficial. The average cost of in-person therapy is $100-$200 a session. Online therapy may range between $20-100 a session, depending on the platform or provider you use. These prices may save you hundreds of dollars a month if you do not have insurance or experience high insurance copays. 

Online therapy has helped many people manage depressive symptoms. One study showed that online mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was as effective as a traditional therapy in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Counselor Reviews

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TMS therapy may not be a practical option for everyone. Still, it can be a rewarding solution for those experiencing depression after receiving traditional medication or counseling without results. Sessions of TMS can cost a lot and require you to commit to a specific timeframe. Speak to your doctor if you're interested in starting treatments. If you hope to supplement your TMS therapy with counseling, consider contacting a therapist for more information. 

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