WHAT DOES “CONFIDENTIALITY” MEAN?
Your therapy sessions are confidential. No information about you will be discussed with anyone without your written permission. However, California state law requires exceptions to this rule in the following situations: (a) current or past unreported child abuse or neglect; (b) elder abuse; (c) a threat to the life of another person; (d) court subpoena; (e) medical emergency while in session. Confidentiality may also be broken if you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or if you are gravely disabled (i.e., planning suicide or unable to provide food, clothing or shelter for yourself).
WILL MY INSURANCE PAY FOR MY SESSIONS?
Some plans with out of network benefits will reimburse for my services. I require out of pocket payment up front at each session. I offer insurance filing forms monthly for you to submit and you will receive direct reimbursement.
HOW LONG IS A THERAPY SESSION?
A typical individual therapy session is 50 minutes. 60 or 75 minute sessions are available upon request. Sessions for families or romantic relationships, are more involved requiring 75 minutes at the start and usually reduced to shorter sessions with progress. In my experience, longer and more frequent sessions translate to overall fewer hours in therapy.
WHAT IS THE FEE FOR THERAPY?
- $200 per 50-minute individual therapy session
- $300 per 75-minute family or relationship therapy session
- $240 per 60-minute hour, prorated, for additional services including phone calls, paperwork, psychological test administration, scoring, interpretation, report writing, etc.
I accept credit card, cash and check payments. I offer a $5/session discount for cash or check payments.
WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION POLICY?
I require cancellation notice a minimum of 24 hours in advance of your appointment time. Because I have reserved the entire hour for you, the more notice you can provide the better. If I am available and you reschedule your appointment within the next 5 business days (Monday-Friday) in addition to your next appointment, you will not be charged the missed appointment fee. However, I am often booked out for two to three weeks at a time and may not have anything available. You get a freebie the first time you cancel late. Please be advised that you will be charged the full session fee per session cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice thereafter.
WHAT IF I NEED MEDICATION?
I do not prescribe any medications. However, if over the course of our work I assess the usefulness of medication, I can help you find an appropriate psychiatrist. If you are currently taking medications, we will discuss during the initial appointment.
SHOULD I USE MY INSURANCE?
For several reasons, including protecting your confidentiality, I do not accept insurance as an in-network provider. Depending on your current health plan, your services may be covered in full or in part by out of network benefits. Please contact your provider to verify how your plan compensates you for out of network psychotherapy services.
This means you pay the fee out of pocket at each session. Each month, my assistant or I can send you an out of network reimbursement form for you to submit to your insurance company. Then your insurance company will reimburse you directly, sending payment to your home address.
Ask your insurance provider these questions to determine your benefits:
- Does my health insurance plan include out of network mental health benefits?
- Do I have an out of network deductible? If so, what is it and have I met it yet?
- Does my plan limit how many out of network sessions per calendar year I can have? If so, what is the limit?
- Do I need written approval from my primary care physician in order for out of network services to be covered?
- Will the insurance company ask for access to my records?
- How might a mental health diagnosis on record with my insurance company impact future insurance costs?
- True privacy and confidentiality means sharing sensitive, personal information with a single, trusted professional chosen by the patient. Managed care usually requires sharing private information with several people who are not chosen by the patient. Insurance company employees (gatekeepers and utilization reviewers) have access to your information. Files are often accessible to hundreds of employees.
- Life insurance companies have access to your health insurance giving them the right to deny you coverage based on your diagnosis. This is termed risk management when it is actually discrimination and bias fueled by negative stigma. Certain diagnoses can prohibit life insurance even if the diagnosis was several years ago.
- A utilization reviewer’s decisions may overrule the decision of the professional who is conducting the treatment. However, the reviewer’s decision often is based upon limited information and/or a too-brief discussion of a case with the treating therapist.
- Medical ethical codes require that health professionals avoid and minimize conflicts of interest regarding their primary obligation to the patient’s welfare. Managed care, on the other hand, does just the opposite. Professionals may avoid dealing with important long-term issues or cut therapy short because managed care prefers to refer new patients to therapists with a record of short-term (less expensive) treatment.
- Managed care often fails to inform patients of treatment alternatives outside of the plan. This failure to inform serves the purposes of the managed care company because patients who do not know other treatment is possible, are more likely to report satisfaction with the managed care treatment. Unfortunately, this failure to inform also undermines the patients’ control, because the patient loses the choice to self-pay for the preferred treatment.
- Medication is frequently presented as complete treatment. In fact, psychotherapy, in combination with medication, is a better treatment than medications alone.
- Patients who are sent to psychotherapy are usually told that ultra-brief therapy is the treatment of choice, and if they don’t improve, they are told that there are no realistic alternatives. The reality is that longer-term psychotherapy is a more effective treatment for many presenting problems. Many people find it so helpful that they will decide to self-pay for longer-term, depth psychotherapy.
WHAT IF I STILL WANT TO USE INSURANCE?
While there are potential complications that could come about from using insurance, I do still happily provide paperwork necessary should you decide you’d like to obtain out-of-network reimbursement. This means you pay for the sessions up front, submit the form to your insurance company, then they may or may not reimburse you a certain percentage. This depends on the provider, type of plan, etc. Call your member services department to find out more by asking specifically about your plan’s out-of-network reimbursement requirements and percentages.
I’M AVAILABLE TO ANSWER OTHER QUESTIONS
Please contact me with any additional questions via email, the contact form on the side of this page, or on the Contact Me page.