Thoughts about Insurance – What are the benefits of paying for therapy rather than using your Insurance?


You want privacy

thoughts about using insurance for biblical counseling

Whenever insurance is used, some information (such as your diagnosis) has to be given to the insurance company and at times to employers. Managed care companies often ask for detailed and personal information about clients in order to make payment decisions. This judgmental review can undermine the sense of privacy necessary for effective therapy. There is just no guarantee that your mental health records will not be accessed for legal reasons, by your employer and someone else.

Another privacy issue is that the federal government and the insurance industry have developed a national database of medical and mental health records, to which your managed care records are reported to and stored. Regardless of the regulations, there is no way to tell how the information from the National Data Bank will be used or abused. Similar to your credit report, it may be easily accessible and abused.
When clients pay for therapy out of pocket, there is no loss of privacy to managed care companies, insurance companies or employers; everything shared is confidential and private. Often our mental health records are the most private and personal records we have, and to guard their confidentiality is of utmost importance.


You don’t want to be labeled “sick”

Whenever insurance is used for counseling, the treatment must be “medically necessary,” which means that your therapist must give you a psychiatric diagnosis or label, such as depression or anxiety.
People use therapy for personal growth, for help coping with stressful life situations, and for marriage and family difficulties, for growth as a Christian, as well as for chronic and serious psychological problems. When you are self-paying, you are never labeled.


You want to choose your own therapist

Many insurance companies limit the choice of therapists. Some of these “preferred providers” offer good treatment, keep their clients’ interests foremost, and try to keep treatment brief without sacrificing quality. At times however, the insurance company asks the preferred providers to divide their loyalty between the client and the insurance company.
When you pay directly, you may seek consultation from a mental health professional for any reason you choose. Many clients prefer to choose their counselor personally and avoid seeing a therapist with a potential conflict of interest between the client and the insurance company. Other clients may want to work with a therapist who was highly recommended or has some type of religious/faith background but may not be on the company or preferred provider list.


You want to choose the type and length of treatment

Managed care programs often limit the choice of therapy. While some interfere very little with the consumer’s choice of type or length of therapy, others make many of the important treatment decisions—the length of treatment, the type of therapy, the use of medication, and referral to self-help groups instead of professional services. Some companies provide only ultra-brief therapy and referrals.
Self-paying for therapy may be necessary in order to receive the type and length of treatment needed. You don’t want a managed care employee making judgments about you. When managed care is responsible for payment, they have the power to influence your treatment. A company employee evaluates your motivation, the severity of your problem, and your progress and makes treatment recommendations. The therapist must take the company’s recommendations into consideration or risk losing the contract to work with the company altogether. Many clients prefer paying for their own treatment to eliminate influence from an outsider.