Tuesday Therapy Notes: Insurance Headaches

This series, Tuesday Therapy Notes, is meant to examine types of therapy as well as common issues with therapy. And such a discussion would not be complete with out a consideration of the headaches that can come from dealing with insurance companies.

Because the worst part of therapy, perhaps the worst part of any treatment in some cases, can be dealing with insurance companies. Of course, these companies are ultimately more concerned with their bottom line than they are with your health, so it is understandable that dealing with them would come with some headaches.

For starters, there is the struggle to determine whether a particular therapist is in-network or out of network. This can be confusing if you are trying to go through your insurance company’s website, which never seems designed to give you straight answers. A better bet would be to ask the therapist directly.

Then there is the question of covering mental health and whether you’ve met your deductible. If you haven’t meet your deductible than you might as well not have insurance, because why would they pay for it when you can be the one who pays.

Then there is the infuriating way that insurance companies for some reason treat mental health differently than they do physical health. My insurance company has a different division and a whole separate number you call for mental health related questions. We talk so much about stigma, and this is an example of it, that mental health isn’t even treated the same as physical health.

And continuing this discussion, there is also a question of parity within the insurance world when it comes to mental health issues. Some laws require parity, meaning that a insurance company has to offer mental health benefits equal to their physical benefits. However at the federal level here in the United States, insurance companies are only required to provide parity if they offer mental health benefits to begin with. However, if the company doesn’t cover mental health benefits, they aren’t required to change that.

And all of this is absolutely a headache. The system is absolutely ridiculous and probably needs a little therapy of its own. Too bad no one will be left to pay for it.

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