Using your health insurance to pay for your therapy can do you more harm than good.
One of the questions I get asked most often in my practice is, if I accept insurance? To the general public eye—the benefits of insurance are very clear, however, the risks of insurance are not as blatant. Part of my job as your therapist, your partner in wellness, is to help you make informed decisions about your life and that includes billing insurance. Here are 4 reasons why I don’t accept insurance in my practice and why I never will:
1. Insurance companies require a mental health disorder diagnosis to pay for any session.
I always tell people that the best time to come in and start therapy is when nothing is "wrong". To be able to come in and build up a relationship when there is no crisis provides an incredible foundation for when something does come up that is challenging. Insurance companies require a mental health disorder diagnosis to pay for a client’s sessions. That diagnosis will then stay with that client for the rest of that person’s life. Not everyone that comes to therapy has a mental health diagnosis, and if you do, it should not have to be shared with your insurance. (especially because of #2!)
2. The insurance company then has access to all of your therapy notes and can be potentially viewed by anyone that works for the company, at any time.
Yep, you read that right. Once an insurance company inputs your file into their system, it can then be viewed by anyone at the insurance company. I would like to believe that no one has a reason to do so and that it is never a problem. But, the reality is that I respect my clients’ personal information and do not want to share it with a giant corporation out to make money as their only purpose.
3. I work holistically; insurance doesn’t like that.
I want to take into account more than just your thoughts and your behaviors. While those have a huge part to play and always are discussed, there is more to it than that. Holistic psychology concentrates on the relationship that someone has with the world; physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Insurance wants a step-by-step list of how we are going to solve "problem A, B, & C," while I say … let’s see if the "problem" is a "problem" at all and then look at the whole person; the whole life, the whole experience and see what’s going on for that individual! Not everything can be "fixed" in 10 sessions.
4. If you’re self-employed, or ever will be, having a mental health disorder diagnosis on your medical records can make health insurance become very expensive.
Unfortunately, mental health diagnoses have an impact on the costs of health insurance among the self-employed. That’s just … so infuriating. So, I don’t want to be complicit in sharing information that could do more harm than good.
Now, I am happy to provide a Superbill (does not always require a diagnosis) if you want to submit it for reimbursement. I am also happy to fill out any HSA paperwork with you and work out how to best fit this in. But, part of my job as your partner in wellness is operating my business authentically with who I am as a therapist, and the way that insurance companies operate does not sit well. I just value your confidentiality more than that.
If you have any questions about this, please leave a comment or contact me, I’d love to discuss any questions about this topic!
This article was originally published at Rachel Gibbs Therapy Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.