Why I Decided to Take Insurance…
Over 10 years ago when I decided to go into private practice as a therapist, I had to decide if I was going to get credentialed and begin joining insurance panels. You see, the advice I as given at the time was that in order to get a steady stream of referrals, it was something that I needed to do.
Of course now I know there are lots of other ways to get referrals through marketing both online and offline. Also having a great website that is optimized and uses good SEO practices is very important. And the truth of the matter is that you should be doing that anyway in your practice if it is going to stand out and be successful.
And given all of those things, these are the reasons why I decided to go the “insurance route” and build my practice on that model:
- The demographics of the people in my practice area depends on insurance benefits for their healthcare needs.
- It meets the needs of my community
- It does provide me with a steady stream of referrals for my practice.
- It adds an element of professionalism and credentials for clients knowing that I have been “vetted” by their insurance company
- I am able to provide services to people that might not be able to afford seeing a therapist without their insurance; it has also been an ethical decision for me for this reason.
- It gives me a diversity of clients
- Once it is set-up and the correct processes and practice management systems are iin place, it really is no more trouble than taking a strictly cash pay clients
- Insurance contract rates, on average, are not that much less than my full fee.
- It does take more work, especially on the front end, to get things in place and set-up to take insurance
- Does require an extra layer of processes and “paperwork” to follow-up on and to track claims
- Each insurance company does things a little differently and so you have to learn those nuances
- It might require hiring a medical billing person to help track things and follow up on rejected claims or claims not being paid
- There is a delay in getting your money, but most insurance companies pay with in a few days or weeks.
- The credentialing process does take awhile to do on the front end (2-3 months of waiting)
- Insurance companies determine what you can charge your clients and what you get paid
The next series of posts will be walking you through some of the processes of taking insurance and what you will need to begin getting paid by insurance companies for your services.
Other great resources:
By L. Gordon Brewer, Jr., MEd. LMFT – Gordon is the President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is also a consultant and business mentor at The Practice of Therapy. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn. Join our Facebook Group.