One of the things that many mental health providers come across is the question about insurance. While there are many providers that contract with insurance companies, there are quite a few benefits to seeing an out of network provider. Mark Ettensohn, Psy.D. lays it all out in his article Why Private-Pay for Therapy? as does Therapy Charlotte in Paying for Therapy with Insurance: Is it Really Worth it?.
Top two in my opinion?
When you utilize an out of network provider, you determine what is most important when it comes to your therapy, and you with your provider determine the length of treatment. No predetermined number of visits.
Often times, insurance companies dictate how many visits their members can have which forces the treatment to be brief and symptom-focused. Symptom-focused work doesn’t leave room to explore underlying issues, therefore leaving you vulnerable to relapse after the conclusion of therapy. Not to mention, when you are not limited you can engage and gain trust in the therapeutic relationship without constraint.
Insurance companies require providers to give you a diagnosis in order for them to determine whether they will authorize the service and for how long. When a therapist submits a diagnosis to an insurance company, that becomes part of a permanent record and is no longer under the discretion of the therapist as to how it is used.
How important is your privacy? When therapists treat clients privately, they decide whether or not to provide a diagnosis based upon their clinical judgement. The best way to ensure the utmost privacy is to pay for therapy out-of-pocket.
** Many therapists hold a certain number of reduced rate spots in their practice ( I do!), make sure to ask before you write off the possibility! Also, make sure to check your benefits with your insurance company… many times your out of network costs are not much more costly than your in-network costs!