Many prospective clients often reach out for a free therapeutic consultation prior to scheduling the first appointment. After getting through the usual "reasons for seeking therapy" and "how can I help" questions, a question I get a TON, is “do you accept insurance?”
The short answer to this is...I don't.
You might be thinking “Well that sucks, I can't afford to pay for therapy as often as I need it.” I totally get that. But I also think it’s important that you understand what happens when you use your insurance to cover therapy and why I’ve chosen not to work directly with insurance companies:
1. Not all insurance coverage is the same or provided equally
All of my clients have separate and unique insurance coverage options that dictate how much of my services will be covered. Unfortunately, insurance companies still engage in practices that promote stigma around mental health, so not all coverage is made equal or prioritizes the need for mental health counselling and psychotherapy. When it comes time to access more insurance coverage, I encourage my clients to advocate for more coverage for Registered Psychotherapists, as my service is often overlooked and undervalued. Surprisingly, my clients have received an increase in their insurance coverage for my services, simply by asking for it directly!
2. Our work together is valuable & important in your life
Let me preface this by saying that some therapists that choose to accept insurance are excellent. However, most therapists start accepting insurance to build their practice quickly. The average rate for private individual therapy from a registered and licensed professional is typically between $100-$200 per session. Most insurance companies pay therapists between $40-90 per session, and this is often not even paid on time. So why would a therapist take insurance if they are getting paid less and having to jump through so many hoops? I have made the decision not to accept insurance because I know the value of my work, my skillset, and the results clients see when they commit to working with me. I don’t have issues with client retention, and most of my clients find my rates to be reasonable and on point with the current market. I also make efforts to meet clients where they are at and discuss payment plans that support their mental health and financial needs. In other words, it is my goal to make therapy easy, comfortable, and accessible!
3. It compromises confidentiality & your personal health information
When you are a provider who accepts insurance, insurance companies can request your therapy notes at any time to deem whether treatment is “medically necessary.” I find this really invasive to clients who are trusting me with sensitive and personal information. I also think that makes accessing therapy more anxiety-provoking since insurance companies can request your information at any point. This hurts the therapeutic relationship I build with my clients and I don't find this fair in my work.
4. Treatment length is out of your control
When you utilize insurance for therapy, the insurance company typically approves only a certain number of sessions you are allowed. Obviously, the person assigning this number of sessions does not know you personally or understand your individual needs when it comes to determining the number of sessions that makes sense for your needs. Therapy is not predictable and working under a time limit can add stress to the therapeutic process we develop.
5. My clients are committed to their therapeutic journey
Clients who are willing to make the investment in therapy are often more committed, and as a result, achieve better results. When therapy is taken seriously, you see the investment pay off in every aspect of your life: happier, healthier, and more in control of your stress. There is nothing worth more than personal growth & happiness, and I truly believe this.
While I choose not to directly accept insurance for the reasons listed above, some insurance companies actually offer decent out-of-network provider benefits. This means that you may be able to receive full or partial reimbursement for our work together, while still allowing for privacy and control. This really depends on your specific insurance plan, so I recommend calling directly to find out about your out-of-network provider benefits.
I am personally licensed and registered with Green Sheild and Blue Cross Medavie. If you are receiving insurance coverage from one of these companies, you will be easily able to submit your therapy receipts for direct reimbursement. In addition, if you are a University/College students, my services are covered by your school's benefits plan. Simply submit your therapy receipts and receive reimbursement within a few days!
If you are paying out of pocket for therapy and struggle to pay my full session fee, I am more than willing to work with you to establish a payment plan that fits within your financial means. I actively try to make various therapy service options (i.e. 20-minute check-in calls; 30-minute express sessions) to fit your needs and budget.
As always, should you have any questions about my therapeutic approach, payment options, or how to access therapy if you don't have insurance coverage, please reach out!
"Your Local, Everyday Therapist!"