Therapy is indeed very costly. The average price ranges from $80 to $300. This cost depends on the provider’s level of education, licensure status, specialized certifications and level of expertise. If you want to find out if your provider’s price is a fair market price go to the FairHealthConsumer.org website and look under average psychotherapy cost for a 45-minute session or click here.
A therapist, similar to a lawyer, requires years of schooling. All therapists have masters and some even have a PhD. In order to receive a license; therapists have to go through a lot of training and years before they can actually work.
Lastly, counseling is expensive because there are many bills to pay:
- Rent and utilities.
- State licensure fees, each licensure requires annual fees to be paid.
- Continuing education courses; these are necessary in order to keep the licenses.
- Liability insurance.
- Marketing costs.
- Fees to maintain certifications and courses to keep them active.
- Books that counselors read to help them maintain.
- Yearly fees and courses to maintain different certification statuses active.
- Educational loans have to be paid off.
If you want a good counselor that has taken the time to learn and is on the forefront of their discipline, then you will prefer paying for one, rather than doubting if you are in the right hands. As always educate yourself and find one that is a good fit.
Why Does My Therapist Not Take Insurance?
Many of you probably have called your insurance company and talked to some of the therapists that are within your insurance network. You probably have found that they are either fully booked or not a good fit for you. A large portion of therapists do not accept insurance for various reasons. This however, does not mean that your insurance does not cover them. Some insurance providers reimburse clients for out of network mental health sessions. This means that the client/patient still has to pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed. Finding a good therapist that accepts insurance plans is very difficult. Out of all practicing medical professionals, those in the mental health field are the ones that are least likely to accept insurance. A study done by Bishop and her colleagues in 2014, showed that only 55 percent of psychiatrists use insurance plans, compared to a staggering 89 percent of other health care providers that do accept them.
There are many reasons to this. One is that insurance plans do not accept certain diagnosis. Insurance companies work from a medical perspective and want to have a diagnosis and a time-frame to which this diagnosis will be ‘cured’. For example, when someone goes to the doctor for a broken toe, the diagnosis is a broken toe and there is a set type of treatment that the patient undergoes. Unfortunately, for mental health insurance companies see this comparable to a pre-existing condition, were the treatment protocol is not specific. Additionally, they don’t see preventative care as a reason for treatment, and therapists have a very hard time justifying treatment and their claims get denied.
Accepting Insurance Can Be Time Consuming and Expensive for Therapists
- The amount of paperwork and time that is needed to discuss each patient with the insurance company, means time taken away from the clients to actually be able to do therapy.
- When any health care provider accepts insurance they have to call the insurance each time the client comes to make sure they are still insured and that their session will be covered by the health insurance.
- Each time a client steps in the door, paperwork has to be filled out after the session to justify that the client received therapy.
- Additionally, insurance companies have to be called for payment reimbursement. All this can take more than an hour per client. This means that this hour cannot be used to see any other client, cannot be used for client preparation or to read and continually educate oneself to be a better therapist.
Why Does My Therapist Not Hire Extra Help
Many would say, to hire an assistant that can do the job for them. That is a good idea in theory, but that also means that a therapist has to work double the amount to make half of what they would be making in private practice. This is because the reimbursement rates by insurances is very low, so therapists have to take twice to three times as many clients as they would if clients pay out-of-pocket. Therapists are only human and if you want your therapist to be 100% there for you, then it is better that they are not over saturated with client sessions, so they can offer their private clients better service.
Unlike other medical providers, that have a full staff, that help them with intake, diagnosis, blood work, paperwork etc. many therapists are on their own, this ensures the maximum amount of confidentiality. Many clients are people who do not want a mental health diagnosis to come out in their insurance plans so they prefer paying out-of-pocket. It allows them to keep their mental health diagnosis private.
Finding a good therapist takes time. Read ‘How to find a good therapist’ on tips that can help you navigate this unfamiliar terrain.
Dr. Kreinberg is a dually licensed therapist, with a specialization in sexology, issues related to depression, anxiety and trauma. She is the founder of the Mind Wellness Center, a center that focuses on creating change in the life of the clients.