Monday, March 19, 2012

Why pay cash?

I don't take any insurance. This benefits my clients in ways they may not know. Today's blog is meant to shed light on this subject.

Insurance companies are often not up-to-date. Most therapists get the majority of their referrals through insurance companies. Certainly, it seems more economical to call up your insurance company, ask for a local practitioner, and go there. Also, the insurance company keeps (you hope) a record of the practitioner's standing - licensure, malpractice, etc. Most will, yes, but some won't require that information to be updated too often, and many will never look into any claims against the license, such as lawsuits.

Insurance companies do not recognize hypnotherapy. As a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Certified Practitioner of Rapid Resolution Therapy, I can clear up most issues in just a couple of sessions. I charge you one rate for the issue, and we lay out the sessions in advance by a free phone consultation. Traditional therapy drags on and on with a loose treatment plan generally developed in the second session. This means you will be paying for 2 sessions before even having an idea of how long your issue might take to resolve. If insurance companies recognized hypnotherapy as worthy and viable, I might accept insurance for those companies, but at this time, they do not to my knowledge. They would rather pay for months of sessions than a single price for the issue. I would rather return you to your happy life quickly.

Insurance ultimately costs more. If you come in for a standard issue, like trauma, and I charge you $500 for 4 hours of therapy to broken up over 2 sessions, it is less expensive than seeing you for the same issue using traditional therapy each week for $90 . Even if your insurance company pays me $40, you would be responsible for the difference of $50 plus your $20 copayment. That is unreasonable. Even if you took out the difference, and I agreed to lower my rate for your insurance company (which is standard practice, despite how much it costs to get the degree for this level of care), you'd still be paying a $20 copay weekly for 6-9 months. In 6 months, it'd be about the same price as paying it all at once, but you'd have 5 months of living with your problem, plus gas and time. I think your time and happiness are worth far more than that. Also, when I bill insurance, claiming that money take me more time and energy, which I would also have to pass on to you through higher rates.

Insurance companies want your information. I have done medical billing for therapy and know, intimately, the details they insurance companies request. They want your diagnosis (this includes any substance abuse, even if not the treating issue), your risk level (are you at suicide risk because of your depression, for instance), and often want copies of session notes that verify these factors. I feel your information is private and should remain so. If you sue and we go to court, your notes can be turned over, but until then, they are between you and me, and whomever you want them released to, if anyone. I feel you may come in for an issue, like having been the victim of rape, and want to address that without discussing the fact that you may also suffer from some situation depression due to a job loss and be using daily marijuana to cope with that. I will certainly recommend you deal with each issue, but does your insurance company - and thus your employer or the military, or life insurance company - need to know that you are using substances? Certainly not.

My qualifications:
  • I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. (LMHC)
  • I am a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. (CHt)
  • I am a Certified Practitioner of Rapid Resolution Therapy. 

Unbiased proof:
  • I carry malpractice insurance. 
  • I do continuing education every year - often many times per year - to keep learning new techniques.
  • I also do continuing education to keep up my hypnotherapist status for 2 different boards.
  • I get mentorship and guidance at bimonthly conference calls. This is not required.
  • I subscribe to 3 counseling periodicals, and read them cover to cover. 
  • I am an active member of the American Counseling Association. 
  • I am an active Provider for ChildNet.
  • I am an active member of the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

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