It is understandable that someone seeking therapy may want to try to have their health insurance cover their therapy. Mental health services have the unique situation of dealing with delicate matters of the mind. You may not feel self-conscious about going to the doctor for asinus infection and having the doctor’s office submit a claim to your insurance. You may feel differently about going to a therapist and having to contend with a third party (your insurance company). Some people feel stigmatized enough already. When paying out of pocket, clients are guaranteed that only the therapist knows about what goes on in session.
1. You are a person, not a number or label.
As counselors, we take issue with insurance companies treating our clients as diagnosis. Insurance companies require therapists to label their clients with a mental health diagnosis. That means that a client must be given a diagnosis number in order to have his/her insurance pay. Many times our clients are struggling with life situations, and need someone to listen and help, not give a diagnosis. The stigma attached to mental health diagnoses can make therapy daunting to clients. Having a diagnosis could limit your future employment opportunities.
2. Your confidentiality is important to us.
Not only will clients be forced to have a mental health diagnosis, this diagnosis will then be seen by a third party. This means that what is normally only shared between therapist and client may have to be shared with insurance.
3. Clients are more invested in their therapy.
Results have shown that clients who pay for their sessions improve more than those who do not directly pay. Since the client is paying, they feel more of a need to do their homework and get their money’s worth.
4. Quality/limitations of care.
Insurance companies want a diagnosis within the first two sessions, which is a short amount of time to really get to know a person. Insurance can deny coverage for a client if the insurance company does not deem that the person needs therapy, or that their diagnosis is not “severe” enough. This means that someone that works at an insurance company that does not know the client can dictate how well or unwell you are. Therapy may also be limited by number of visits authorized by your insurance company. Insurance companies can dictate the number of visits you have, along with the content of the sessions, which can hamper quality of care.
5. No filing means a fresher therapist.
Working with insurance companies requires time and persistence. We do not have an office staff to process claims. This keeps overhead low and allows you time to work with a therapist focused on your care without the distractions of insurance verifications, authorizations, etc. Therapists who do not file insurance are able to spend more time on client care. Instead of spending time processing insurance paperwork, your therapist is able to be a better therapist, not a better administrator.