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Why You Should Consider Paying Out-Of-Pocket for Therapy

Why You Should You Consider Paying Out-Of-Pocket for Therapy

If you have health insurance, some plans will cover at least part of the cost of seeing a therapist. So why should you consider paying full-fee and see a therapist that doesn’t accept insurance? Some privacy issues may surprise you.

1.Your insurance company knows your personal issues

Everything in a therapy session is confidential... but for your therapist to validate that treatment is necessary requires that some information is shared with the insurance company (there are disclosure forms for this). Insurance companies are privy to information such as diagnosis. Insurance plans don’t cover all diagnoses, so you may end up with a “label” just so that your therapist can get paid. For example, if you are having disputes with your spouse or undergoing a moderate, temporary transition like a move, you may also end up with a more serious diagnosis because temporary or “normal” distresses aren’t usually covered by insurance. If you are paying out-of-pocket for your therapist, a diagnosis is not required.

2.Your right to privacy with your job

I have been told by clients that are active military that attending therapy sessions “looks bad”. This may be true for many occupations that offer health benefits. If you believe that therapy is a valuable resource for working though issues, it may seem alarming that this may encourage one to resist therapy because it appears unfavorable to employers. If you are experiencing recurrent issues that are difficult to resolve yourself, it’s worse of course to simply ignore them than to get treatment. Paying out-of-pocket allows you privacy to receive help without needing to report it to your employer (you can choose to disclose if they ask).

3.“Labels” that follow you around

If you have been diagnosed with a disorder, like depression for example, it doesn’t just go away. It is on your medical history, and health professionals you receive services for will see this past diagnosis before they have a chance to get to know you.

4.Full control of your treatment

One of the most frustrating parts of receiving therapy, if you have received insurance coverage, is that now the diagnosis (which is usually presented to insurance after one session) is now in control of your treatment. Insurance can dictate how many sessions are necessary, and all sessions thereafter need to be aligned with the diagnosis for treatment to be justified. You also have less control of who you choose to receive therapy from as you may have a list of approved providers.

Just because there are disadvantages to using insurance for therapy, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find help regardless of your income. Many therapists in private practice offer sliding scale fees, and Marriage Family Therapist Interns typically offer sessions at a lower cost than their licensed counterparts (in California, Interns have Master’s degrees in counseling, and are working towards the 3,000 clinical hours required by the Board of Behavioral Sciences before they can take the state exam). To learn more about how you can make therapy work for you, contact me here.

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