Paying privately may be the better choice even if you have health insurance.
Most clients seek therapy to improve relationships or transition through “rough patches”, but to an insurance company review board these are not acceptable reasons. To be approved for therapy sessions, the therapist must make a case that therapy is “medically necessary” which includes accentuating the problems the client is experiencing and labeling the client with a mental illness. This is often required after the first visit, and then becomes part of the client’s permanent health record.
Your mental health records won’t be used against you.
Did you know that your health records may limit your ability to qualify for health or life insurance or require that you pay substantially higher premiums in the future? The personal details of therapy are often entered into a database called the Medical Information Bureau by your insurance company. The medical information on over 16 million people is currently housed in this database.
Your confidentiality will not be compromised.
My commitment to care for my clients includes a desire to maintain their confidentiality, especially when services for children are involved. To be reimbursed by an insurance company I would have to label your child with a diagnosis and submit constant updates on symptoms and what is happening in the therapy room. These may be scrutinized by the insurance company so in order to ensure continuation of treatment, I have to stress all the things that are not going well rather than focus on client strengths.
You are making decisions about your treatment not a managed care panel.
Many insurance companies provide payment only for certain approaches of therapy (short-term and problem-focused) and many others won’t pay for family therapy even when the client is a child and the parents are vital to the therapeutic process. Obviously, it is in the best interest of the insurance company to pay as little as possible for services and to end therapy as quickly as possible. None of these motives address the best interest of the client.
You can set your priorities for what is most important.
We find the money to pay for what’s important. We pay cash for important services like car repairs, club memberships and visits to the salons, all of which are valuable services but meet only short-term needs. If it seems you can’t afford weekly therapy sessions, there might be ways of reprioritizing expenses to address this important service. A few adjustments to your family budget could ensure that you or your child can enjoy the professional and creative therapy that I will provide.
Therapy has the potential to create lasting change and to avert more serious problems later on. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, half of all lifetime mental illness begin by age 14. If left untreated these issues may become more severe (requiring much more extensive therapy) or progress into other unhealthy behaviors (substance abuse, suicidality, etc.) Childhood and adolescence are such important stages of life and parents should have choices over what is in their child’s best interest. When you or your child is struggling, there are many important factors to take into consideration. Finding the right provider who is the best match for you or your child is so important and a decision only you should make. And since we don’t know if or for how long the personal information of your child’s mental health record could be kept on file with the MIB, I encourage you to take this risk into account. Consider making the choice to adjust your budget to include this important service for your child’s well-being with the assurance that it will remain completely confidential both now and through your child’s future.
In summary, here are the very good reasons to pay privately for therapy:
•You choose the therapist best suited to your needs rather than the insurance company telling you who to see. •You have flexibility in the type of therapy, who to include in the therapy session and the length of services. •You or your child won’t be labeled with a mental health diagnosis unless you request this type of assessment. •You will have complete confidentiality. Your records will not be shared with anyone without your permission. In
fact, no one else will know you are even enrolled in therapy unless you tell them.
•You won’t have to worry that your health records will be included in the MIB and create problems for you or your
child in the future.
•You will be able to continue to work with your therapist even if your insurance plan coverage changes.