My Standard Rate is $60/Session for Individual Counseling

Rates & Insurance

Rates:
$60 per 50-minute session, $100 per 90 minute session.

Payment:
Cash, Check, Debit Cards, Credit Cards. Credit & Debit Cards incur a $2.50 surcharge.

Making An Appointment:
To make an appointment, please call or email me with the time and days you prefer, and we can go from there. A debit or credit card is necessary to reserve your appointment.

Cancellation Policy: If you do not appear for your scheduled appointment and you have not notified me 48-hours in advance, you are required to pay the full cost of the counseling session.

The Truth About Medical Insurance for Mental Health Services

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by clients is if I take insurance. For the past couple years, this question no longer can be answered simply with “yes” or “no.” Let me explain some of the challenges faced by the mental health field when dealing with insurance companies.

One major problem is that for past several years the majority of insurance companies no longer accept new providers. With no influx of young providers, the clients don’t benefit from the advantages of a free market where they choose the counselors they want to work with based on training, experience, and overall traits that are appealing to them. Rather, they are directed only towards the providers that the particular network has engaged with—professionals who have been in the field for many years. This means that the cost of the counseling services is locked in the high ranges of $120-150 per session, and clients are left with access to ONLY a closed-in circuit with a limited amount of options.

Another aspect is understanding how exactly insurance companies work. Insurance companies use the medical model to reimburse counseling services. The medical model requires the counselor to diagnose the client with a disorder. Not all disorders are equally covered by insurance companies. Some diagnoses are considered more serious than others, therefore a “lighter” diagnosis can result in the insurance company denying coverage. There are two problems resulting from this type of practice: pathologizing a normal aspect of life, and creating a permanent log in the client’s medical record.

A vast majority of clients coming to counseling do so because they face life situations related to stress, family or work dynamics, or difficulties adjusting to life changes. Such circumstances are normal and do not need to be labeled as a disorder. Mental health providers working with insurance companies will take the client’s complaints and attempt to match them to the current classification of mental disorders to diagnose them with a diagnosis covered by the insurance company; even if the client does not fully meet the criteria of the particular mental disorder (a process known as over-diagnosing).

The process of making a proper diagnosis requires time, systematic observation and interaction with the client to rule out various factors and differentiate between disorders that share common features. Most mental health providers make a diagnosis during the first or second session (which usually lasts 45 minutes). Once the diagnosis is shared with the insurance company, it stays on the client’s medical record—permanently. Some people don’t seem to be bothered by this aspect while others don’t know the significant implications they expose themselves to. Common ramifications of having a mental health diagnosis are more evident when clients seek life insurance policies, or when children reach adult years and seek career or job opportunities such as enrolling in the military. Currently, there are several disorders that disqualify young adults from enrolling in the military if they were diagnosed with during childhood.

Another element that plays a role in how insurance companies reimburse counseling services is based on client’s individual health care plan. Each plan is different in terms of the high deductibles or co-pays. For plans with high deductibles, counseling services tend to be covered when and if the client meets their deductibles. Since each insurance plan has a monthly premium that has to be paid, if the client forgets to pay the premium, the insurance will deny the claim until the problem is remedied. Due to life circumstances, it is common for clients to change jobs or work settings which can result in losing the current insurance plan or changing plans in the middle of the year. This directly impacts what will happen with the reimbursement of the counseling services. The outcome is that the client will still have to pay the full fee of those sessions not covered by the insurance.

Another aspect that most clients are not aware of is what exactly the insurance companies are paying for and how much do they pay. The average cost of individual counseling is around $120-150 per session or higher. However, insurance companies only reimburse a counselor 50-75% of that fee ($60-65 per session), and the rest has to be paid by the client. Therefore, using your insurance does not guarantee or imply that the entire cost of the session is being covered by the insurance.

Navigating the intricate system of the health insurance companies is frustrating and confusing for everyone who has to deal with it. Insurance companies are corporations that seek financial gain and their policies reflect that when it comes to reimbursing mental health services. This results in frustration, confusion, and concern for clients and providers alike. As a mental health provider, I am aware that financial constraints are one of the major factors that hold people back from reaching out for counseling services. As a client, you have to “shop” around and seek to invest your money wisely. However, using insurance does not guarantee you will pay less for counseling but actually you can end up spending more and have your privacy exposed as well. So what is the answer you may ask? The one I can provide all my clients is cash based affordable counseling of $60 per session (50-55 min) that also protect your confidentiality from the prying eyes of insurance companies.

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We've made our rates the most affordable in the Tulsa Metro Area so you don't have to rely on your insurance to get the help you need. Contact Tulsa Therapist Alina Morrow, LPC, today to make an appointment. You can reach her by texting or calling 918-403-8873 or by Email.

 

 

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