Many people ask me why I don’t take insurance. I understand the concern, because who wants to pay for a service out of pocket when their insurance may cover a portion of the cost, right?
I have many reasons why I don’t take insurance, but here are the main ones.
When I worked in community mental health, a large part of my time was taken up during the day by billing and documentation. I understood that billing had to be done, but I always wished that I could just spend the extra time with clients instead of doing paperwork. Now that I have my own private practice, I can! Sure, I still have paperwork, but with a part-time schedule, I do not feel that I can take up much time doing billing and other insurance paperwork that is required, were I to accept insurance.
You deserve the best treatment
You deserve to have the best treatment possible. Insurance companies put restrictions on how many sessions you can have, what you can have sessions for, what type of therapy they will reimburse for, etc. For some people, they can fit into these requirements, and insurance works great. But for others, more flexibility is needed. I want you to be able to have as many sessions as you need, sessions for what you need, and with the type of therapy that will work best for you.
Insurance companies require diagnoses in order to reimburse for services. I do see value in this at times, but again, I don’t think it works for everyone. For example, what if you feel like you want to see a counselor, but you don’t have a billable “mental health diagnosis”? Your insurance won’t cover it! Or, what if you don’t want the counselor to provide a mental health diagnosis to your insurance company, where it will remain a part of your health record for the rest of your life? By seeing a counselor who doesn’t take insurance, you don’t have to worry about this issue.
So you may be wondering, can you afford to see me? The answer is most likely! There are several options.
I do see people under their EAP benefits (employee assistance program). If you have an employer who offers Cascade EAP services, you can see me for free, for as many sessions as your employer allows. Some people only need 3 to 6 sessions (usually the amount that are free under the benefit), and some people opt to continue seeing me after their benefit runs out. At that point, they pay out of pocket for service or use my sliding scale. When using EAP, it is confidential, your employer will not know that you used the service (they only know how MANY employees use the service), and no mental health diagnosis is required.
Out of network
If you do not mind a diagnosis going to your insurance company, you are welcome to submit a claim to your insurance company for an out of network benefit. I can provide you with a receipt with all of the information you need to submit to your insurance company. Many people’s insurance companies do reimburse for “out of network” providers, and I have some clients who use this option.
While my out of pocket prices are affordable (and in line with or below most therapist’s rates!), I do believe every person should have access to mental health treatment should they want it! Please contact me about my sliding scale if you are unable to afford my regular rates.
My online therapy rates are cheaper than my in person rates. So this is another thing to consider when you are trying to determine if in-person or online therapy is the best option for you!
Insurance questions and rates can be confusing. I hope this clears things up a bit. But, please let me know if you have any additional questions!
I was so devestated to hear the news about Robin Williams. He brought so much joy to so many people's lives. He will be dearly missed. In the wake of so many converstations going on since his death, I would like to share this article with you. It is indeed time to stop calling suicide victims selfish.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Seeking out help for life's problems is a big step and one that can be intimidating. Some people wonder if they really need to see someone, while others know that they do, but don't know where to start or are afraid to reach out. For those of you in the first category, I recently came across this article entitled "8 Signs You Should See A Therapist." Here is the link where you can read the full article. And here is the short version:
1. Everything you feel is intense
2. You've suffered a trauma and can't stop thinking about it
3. You have unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomachaches, or just feel rundown
4. You are using a substance to cope
5. You are getting bad feedback at work
6. You feel disconnected from previously beloved activities
7. Your relationships are strained
8. Your friends have told you that they are concerned
For those of you in the second category, feel free to contact me with any questions you have at my secure email address, email@example.com. Some people find it easier to make that first contact over email, but if you prefer the phone, my office line is 503-874-4374. Wishing you all the best!
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
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