I DO NOT ACCEPT INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT for mental health services or coaching. The following is why:
ACCEPTING INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT IS A HUGE CONFIDENTIALITY RISK TO YOU!!
Insurance reimbursement necessitates that a client be given a mental illness diagnosis. Most insurance plans do not cover any treatment not deemed 'medically necessary' (this means that at a minimum your symptoms must significantly impair your ability to function), nor do they cover relationship/marriage counseling, stress management or coaching. Most of the clients I work with DO NOT have a diagnosable mental disorder. For me to give a diagnosis, just so a client can get insurance reimbursement, is unethical and fraudulent and I will not do that.
Most insurance companies use a managed care company to manage the consumers' mental health benefits. Most managed care plans require a treatment plan be submitted after the initial authorization for sessions. This means that I would have to answer questions that pertain to your treatment and give any additional information requested in order for more sessions to be approved. The approval of additional sessions would be given by a case manager not known to you and I. Effectively, an UNKNOWN PERSON has access to your private and detailed information and is in charge of the course of your treatment!
If I were on insurance panels, the company has the right to come into my office and access the files of the clients they cover to determine if I am following their requirements. More confidentiality risks!
As a client, your diagnosis is entered into a computer database which the company says is confidential; however, often your diagnosis and other pertinent information is fed into a national medical information database (MIB) that centralizes information for approximately 700 insurance companies. At the very least it would be on record that you saw a therapist for some type of mental illness. This database information is accessed if you subsequently apply for any individual life, disability or health insurance during the next 7 years. To receive reimbursement, you signed a general release for the insurance company, so they can also get more detailed information from the previous insurance company that paid for your treatment. Even a person with a legitimate diagnosis can be negatively influenced by this information. The information at MIB can influence whether or not the insurance company rejects the application or charges a higher rate. MIB says it's illegal to reject insurance based solely on it's report, but because of the red flags at MIB, additional information is easily obtained once you've signed a general release. (These general releases for medical records are usually found on applications for employment, background checks for employment, security clearances, seeing a new health care provider, adoptions, life, disability or health insurance applications. For $9.00 you can obtain a copy of your record at MIB).
PLEASE NOTE: This lack of confidentiality could impact your minor children even more negatively. Should they ever desire to apply for certain jobs or educational programs, such as law enforcement, law school or the military, the information in their insurance files could be used against them.
The FBI and law enforcement officials can access your insurance information at ANY TIME!
IF YOU CHOOSE TO GO TO SOMEONE ELSE AND USE INSURANCE, PLEASE DISCUSS THE ABOVE INFORMATION WITH THEM.
BE SMART! MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION IF YOU DECIDE TO USE INSURANCE FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES!