My Thoughts About Health Insurance, Privacy and Psychotherapy:
You might have questions about insurance coverage and if insurance covers distance counseling and therapy. It is my experience, that most people seeking therapist services, can resolve their problems without having a diagnostic code or label placed on them. Most of the time, people can work through their situations without reporting a diagnostic code and information from their records to their insurance companies. Before considering using your insurance for my services please take into account the following:
When you use your health insurance, your therapist must justify to your insurance company about the need for therapy, requiring the reporting of a mental illness to them. This is typically done through providing a mental health diagnosis code along with other sensitive personal information about your therapy. Your therapist oftentimes has to fill out a questionnaire as to your symptoms, problem situation, and goals to be attained in therapy. This information will go into health insurance files that can be accessed by numerous people, such as utilization managers and case managers.
If your insurance requires pre-certification they will require you to state the nature of your problem. After six to eight sessions, and some of the time beginning with the first session, your insurer requires more detailed information about your therapy. This is an ongoing process, often requiring justification every few sessions. EAP companies also require therapists to fill out questionnaires about your personal situation. Additionally, insurance companies will only authorize services that they believe are medically necessary. They will determine the length of sessions and how many sessions they think you should have.
Before opting to use your insurance for therapy, you might check to see how many sessions are covered by your insurance plan. Your co-pay might be as much or more than the insurance reimburses your therapist, with that in mind; it might not be worth it for you to compromise your privacy. You want to evaluate whether the actual financial benefit outweighs the downsides of compromising your privacy, choosing a limited coverage that may not meet your treatment needs.
As a professional mental health counselor I practice counseling and psychotherapy from a wellness perspective, which is a strength based, dynamic, holistic approach believing in the possibilities of growth and development of every person, regardless of where they are in their life's journey. I approach mental health from a position of prevention and wellness, building on what the person already has. Most people, who are experiencing temporary difficulties will benefit from such an approach without the labels of a diagnostic code and mental illness.
At the present not many states provide for laws covering distance delivered therapy services, however, Maryland does. Distance counseling and therapy is governed by the same rules and laws as face to face counseling. I am licensed to practice in Maryland and if you are covered in Maryland then your services might be covered by your insurance. Certain plans also cover persons in DC. Please check with your insurer to make sure you are covered for distance delivered services. I will make sure and provide you with a Superbill, a document that can be submitted to your insurer.
About 25% of States have laws regulating technology assisted healthcare. However, because most states have no legal foundations for the delivery of mental health care online, most counselors’ services will not be reimbursed by your insurance in those states. Those times when your insurance will not pay for your counselor’s services, you might be able to seek reimbursement through your Health Savings Accounts. I will furnish you with an appropriate Superbill so you can seek reimbursement for counselor services through either your insurance company or your Health Savings Account.
|Distance Counseling||Length of Session||Fee|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||15 min||$20|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||30 min||$40|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||45 min||$60|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||60 min||$80|
You have the option to purchase a prepaid packet for your email counseling needs:
|Distance Counseling||Length of Response||Fee|
|1 substantial Email reponse||2 - 3 pages||$60|
|3 substantial Email reponses||2 - 3 pages each||$160|
|5 substantial Email reponses||2 - 3 pages each||$260|
|10 substantial Email reponse||2 - 3 pages each||$500|
You also have the option of purchasing prepaid packets for your counseling needs:
|Distance Counseling Packages||Length of Session||Fee|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||3/45 min sessions||$160|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||5/45 min sessions||$260|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||10/45 min sessions||$500|
|Distance Counseling Packages||Length of Session||Fee|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||3/60 min sessions||$215|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||5/60 min sessions||$340|
|Chat, Phone, Videocommunication||10/60 min sessions||$650|
Online Therapy - Here is How it Works:
Secure Email Counseling: After registering and filling out the questionaires you will send me an email through the secure Email function of the online office describing the problem you are seeking help for. Then, within 2 to 3 working days I will email you a substantial, well-thought-out professional counsel (2 to 3 pages in lenghth).You can now send and receive secure emails to me instead of having emails sent to your personal email address. When you communicate with me you will be sent a notification to your normal email address that there is a new message in your secure area. No sensitive information will ever be sent via email - only email notifications. Then, you simply login to your personalized Secure Client Area, to view your emails. The secure email system helps prevent others from reading information communicated between you and your therapist.
Video Sessions: After registering and filling out the questionaires to provide me with background information, you will then simply go to the calendar and schedule an appointment for a video session. There is no software download; making this very simple to use. When your appointment time is here you log into your portal. I will see that you are in the "waiting room" and accept your appointment as soon as I am ready.
Online Chat: After registering and filling out the questionaires to provide me with background information, you will then simply go to the calendar and schedule an appointment for our first chat therapy appointment. At the appointment time, we will meet for private and secure instant messaging for oursession.
Telephone Sessions: After registering and filling out the questionaires to provide me with background information, you will then simply go to the calendar and schedule an appointment for our first telephone therapy appointment. At the appointment time I will call you on the phone number you provided for our phone therapy session.
Client Journal: You can login to your secure account and write in your personal journal at any time. Client journals are private. You do have the option to share your journal entries with me through the secured site if you choose to do so.
To Schedule Your Appointments: In the calendar section of the Secure Client Portal you will see my availability. You will then schedule an appointment time and the kind of communication (phone, video, chat) that best suits your schedule. For email counseling simply send me an email through the secure client portal to request a session.
Appointment Reminders: Automatic appointment reminders are sent to you 24 hours before your appointment time. Appointment reminders can be sent by email, text message or phone call recording. These reminders will only be sent to your specified contact method.