We would like to share with you our position on why we don’t accept health insurance
Reduced Ability to Choose
Most health care plans today (insurance, PPO, HMO, etc.) offer little coverage and/or reimbursement for mental health services. Most HMOs and PPOs require “preauthorization” before you can receive services. This means you or the therapist must call the company and justify why you are seeking therapeutic services in order for you to receive reimbursement. The insurance representative, who may or may not be a mental health professional, will decide whether services will be allowed. If authorization is given, you are often restricted to seeing the providers on the insurance company’s list (who offer truncated and reduced-fee services in order to be placed on this list). Reimbursement is sharply reduced if you choose someone who is not on the contracted list; consequently, your choice of providers is often significantly restricted.
Pre-Authorization and Reduced Confidentiality
When visits are authorized, usually only a few sessions are granted at a time. When these sessions are finished, your therapist must justify the need for continued service causing a delay in treatment. Sometimes additional sessions are not authorized, leading to an end of the therapeutic relationship even if you do not feel you have achieved your therapeutic goals. Your insurance company may request or require additional clinical information that is confidential in order to approve or justify a continuation of services. The information they may request may include: treatment plans, progress notes, and at times the entire medical record is requested. We cannot assure or guarantee client confidentiality when an insurance company requires this information. Even if the therapist justifies the need for ongoing services your insurance company may decline services regardless if you think you need continued therapy or not. You are at the mercy of your insurance company to decide your care. You should be aware that some of your personal information might be added to national medical information data banks. For these and other reasons, many therapists openly talk about “the myth of confidentiality” whenever insurance companies become part of the therapeutic process.
Negative Impacts of a Psychiatric Diagnosis
Insurance companies require the therapist to give you a mental health diagnosis (i.e., “major depression” or “obsessive-compulsive disorder”) in order to get reimbursed. Most therapists do not inform their clients of this process and place a mental health disorder diagnosis on their record without consulting or informing them of this process. Psychiatric diagnoses may come back to negatively impact you in the following ways:
1. Denial of insurance when applying for disability or life insurance;
2. Company (mis)control of information when claims are processed;
3. Loss of confidentiality due to the increased number of persons handling claims;
4. Loss of employment and/or repercussions of a diagnosis in situations that require revealing that you have a mental health disorder diagnosis. This includes but is not limited to applying for job applications, applying for financial aid, and concealed weapons permits.
It is also important to note that some psychiatric diagnoses are not even eligible for reimbursement. This is often true for marriage/couples and family therapy as well.
Why I Don’t Take Insurance: These involve enhanced quality of care and other resulting advantages such as:
1. You determine and are in control of your care. You may see whomever you wish, whenever you wish, and for as long as you feel is necessary. You and your therapist make treatment decisions jointly – not someone you have never met.
2. Increased privacy and confidentiality. I hope to create a sense of safety within therapy so you can talk freely about what concerns you most, within your informed consent and federal and state laws.
3. Not carrying a mental health disorder diagnosis on your medical record. You may wish to consult with me on many non-psychiatric issues, such as finding skills to cope with life changes, learning more effective communication techniques for your relationships, or gaining personal insight and developing new, healthy skills.
4. Utilizing your therapy for things that are important to you – you may want your therapy to revolve around things that are important to you such as career counseling, finding your ideal mate, improving communication, gaining personal insights, or developing ways to have a healthier lifestyle. Insurance will not reimburse for these types of sessions.