Why don't you take insurance?
My first priority is to give you the best care possible and I find it difficult to do that when working with insurance companies.
We're not alone.
Many people do not realize that when you use your insurance, there is another person in the room - your insurance company. In order to use your benefits your therapist has to disclose, with your consent, your personal information in order to verify your eligibility, pre-authorize services, and process claims to obtain payment. This includes such things as the nature of your issues for counseling, psychiatric diagnosis, your treatment plan, and how long you will have the problem. If I submit a bill to the insurance companies on your behalf, your confidential information is processed by the insurance company and then stored in a database. Anyone who is involved in the processing or handling of your claim may have access to your records and anyone who has a legitimate reason to access the medical database, such as insurance companies and future employers, can view your confidential records.
I need to label you.
Many people I work with simply need to check in with someone to get a new perspective, learn some new skills, or explore some different strategies to try at home or work. Others want to work on their relationship with their partner or on being a better parent. These things, including marriage and couple counseling, are not typically covered by insurance unless you are given a mental health diagnosis. For couple therapy, one partner is given a mental health diagnosis to utilize benefits, and the other partner is brought in to support the diagnosed partner.
Although receiving a diagnosis when appropriate can be extremely beneficial, it does come with its fair share of unfortunate consequences, such as compromising your ability to obtain life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance. Once you have received a diagnosis it, and the stigma associated with it, follows you the rest of your life. The advantage of self-pay therapy is that your information is not released to the Medical Information Bureau, so even if you do receive a diagnosis it is kept confidential between you and your therapist and shared only with whom you chose to share it with, within the laws of confidentiality.
I want you to feel empowered about your care.
I want you to be actively involved in determining what your goals are, how we will work together, and when we are finished. With insurance, many of your choices and my treatment options are limited, as they determine what is "medically necessary" and what is the most efficient treatment. You get to choose who you feel comfortable working with, rather than having a select list of providers that are covered.
By paying out-of-pocket you can be more confident that your therapist is helping you in a way they are qualified and able to do. Since they are not bound by insurance companies, they are able to focus their practice on working with special groups or issues, rather than working with "everything" - a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
I want to spend my time working with you, not on hold.
There is a great amount of paperwork to submit for in-network benefits and the filing process usually requires a significant amount of time. If a claim is denied for any reason, the appeals process can be long, frustrating, and in the end, unsuccessful, leaving you responsible for the bill. Although you may only have a $40.00 co-pay per session with your insurance, you will likely have a limited number of sessions they will pay for; in general this number ranges from six to ten. If you feel this has not sufficiently helped you, you will either have to stop therapy, pay for it out-of-pocket, or go through the appeals process.
The value of private-pay services over managed-care services are that they are more personalized, remove the stigma of the medical model and clinic setting, offer true privacy and are more effective. However, it is always a personal choice whether or not to use your health insurance to pay for therapy. For some, using insurance benefits is the best choice and others will find they like the freedom paying out-of-pocket gives them in their journey towards mental wellness.