Problems With Insurance and Your Mental Health
It’s already difficult enough to make the decision to find help with the stresses of your life and your relationships. You search the internet, reading blogs, looking at listings and listening to videos of professionals around you who could be helpful to you.
You seem to run into this issue over and over again. The professionals you want who specialize in what you are looking for don’t take insurance and offer only private pay.
You look for other therapists in the local listings that do take insurance, but they don’t specialize in the issue you are looking for help in. On top of them not specializing in what you need, they are booked for months because they have 40+ clients already.
You Take The Risk…
You go in and work with a therapist who doesn’t specialize in what you need and who does take your insurance. You start to learn about the detrimental parts of using insurance for your mental health.
Your insurance doesn’t cover therapy or will only cover a few sessions with a high deductible and/or co-pay with only a few in-network therapist
You Must be diagnosed with a Mental Health Disorder to use insurance.
This is one of the major reasons why I will not use insurance. I’ve had many years of experience with insurance companies and the necessity of a diagnosis ignores the complexity of what you are going through and is also invasive in your life. We do not know what insurance companies will do with your diagnosis, how this will effect your life in the future and where this information goes.
Your Diagnosis will become a Pre-Existing Condition
All diagnosis become medical information that will go into your permanent medical record which will have severe impacts, known and unknown, to your life. One common problem is that it can impact your ability to have health insurance coverage and your deductible, co-pays and premium can reflect this pre-existing conditions. Also with laws changing just about every year when it comes to your health insurance there can be unforeseeable problems that come up with having a pre-existing condition.
Loss of Confidentiality
When using insurance, it isn’t that you just get a diagnosis and the insurance company files this. The insurance requires weekly notes on your sessions, on if you are improving or not and what is happening in the sessions as well as the time and date of the sessions.
This information then goes through many hands on the way to the insurance companies. This information has to be faxed or put into a website, which are both not fully secure, and your sensitive information is given from person to person until your information is permanently filed in the corporate office of the insurance company.
This is unacceptable especially in today’s day and age where privacy and confidentiality rarely exists. You want to keep all of your information as private as possible, especially if you are a high profile person or work a high security job or want to peruse a government or high profile job.
Long Wait Times
Many therapists who do take insurance have 40+ clients that they see all day. This means that it can take up to 3 months to have your first session which is not acceptable. This doesn’t even include getting clearance from your insurance company to see a therapist. Why suffer for more months than you need to without help?
Therapist Burn Out
I’ll give you some insight on the therapist’s side who do take insurance. Insurance companies do not pay therapist well which is why most therapist who take insurance will see 40+ clients a week. This means that this therapist is highly unlikely to concentrate on your case as well as you will need them too. They just physically and mentally can’t. The insurance companies hurt you and therapists.
You Don’t See a Specialist
Insurance companies don’t care if you see the right therapist, they will just pay a few sessions to have you see someone who can manage what you are dealing with. Is someone managing you acceptable to you?
Finding a specialist that deals with what you are dealing with specifically is the therapist who will be able to help you most effectively. You get to choose who helps you, not your insurance company.
You Are Not Seeing an Experienced Therapist
Experienced therapist have worked long enough in their career that they have specialized in their individual niche through years of study and practice. This also means that experienced therapist do not take insurance because they do not need to be pumped patients to pay their bills. Experienced therapist get referrals from their clients, former clients, communities and other therapist who know them and their specialty. This doesn’t mean that all therapist who do take insurance are bad, but this is just a small look into why therapist do and don’t take insurance typically.
You and Your Therapist Have No Control Over Your Treatment
Insurance companies require you to have a Treatment Plan which determines how many sessions you will have, your diagnosis, when you see the therapist and what treatment they determine should happen. It’s the most destructive document I ever had to work with when I did work with insurance.
I’ll give you an example of what is written on a Treatment Plan
Treatment Plan for Client S
Diagnosis: Depression (DSM Code)
Problem: Suicidal thoughts 7x a weeks, lasting up to 4 hours a day at an intensity of 8 (10 being the most intense)
Long-Term Goal (12 sessions from start of treatment): Reduce suicidal thoughts to 1x a month, lasting up to 10 minutes at an intensity of 2 (10 being the most intense)
Short-Term Goal (4 sessions from start of treatment): Reduce suicidal thoughts to 5x a week, lasting up to 3 hours a day at an intensity of 7 (10 being the most intense).
Frequency of treatment: 1x a week for 45 minutes.
This document is then signed by the therapist you are seeing, and if the therapist has a supervisor the supervisor has to sign this and possibly a MD if working at a clinic THEN it is sent to the insurance company for all those people to have this information.
This means that for Client S every person who has a hold of this paper knows everything about them. This information is also permanent.
With a Private Pay therapist none of this is done and no one has any information about you.
Insurance companies can verbally tell you that your sessions are covered, but too often you will find out after having a few sessions that your insurance company does not cover your sessions and you will have to pay for your sessions out of pocket anyways to someone who doesn’t specialize in your needed are and who may have less experience than therapist who only take private pay.
Only problem that can come up is that if your $3,000 for instance, you will have to pay that $3,000 before the insurance company even starts to cover a portion of the therapy session costs.