Forms of Payment from a Client’s Perspective
Many counselors accept both insurance and private pay as a form of payment. If you are having trouble with making an ultimate decision, here are all of the available payment options from a client’s point of view. (For a thorough comparison of insurance and private pay, click here.)
For anyone with insurance, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for paying through insurance. A payment may not be necessary in some cases, but a minimal co-payment is typically expected. Some companies also grant coverage for a specific number of psychotherapy sessions each year. If additional sessions are needed, the therapist can typically request them for the patient.
Insurance companies will need to give authorization in many cases. A doctor’s referral may be needed to receive this authorization. In addition, the insurance provider, not the client or therapist, decides the duration and the number of sessions covered. Utilizing insurance to pay for therapy can put the client’s confidentiality at risk, because the employees of the insurance company can have access to mental health information. Click here for the reasons I don’t accept insurance.
Sliding Scales Fees
A sliding scale fee payment structure is an adjustable kind of pricing where payments depend on the client’s capacity to pay for sessions. The same services are received with this kind of payment, only the payment amount changes.
Sliding scale fees are individualized for the client and depends on their ability to pay. This is beneficial for clients with a smaller income because they benefit from the same kind of treatment other clients receive.
The drawbacks of using sliding scale fees include the difficulty of setting the fee and deciding how long it will be implemented. This may be awkward for both the client and the counselor. In addition, these payments will more than likely have to be out of pocket and insurance companies will not be willing to accept different charges for the same service.
Private pay means payments are made directly to the counselor by the client. Paying out of pocket ensures confidentiality because information does not go through the third party insurance company. The client can choose their own therapist, form of treatment, session length and number of sessions. Many counselors offer discount pricing for direct payments because the counselor does not have to negotiate with the insurance company.
Immediate payments must be made by the client. This may not be as convenient as payments made through insurance.
Are you charging enough? Click here to find out.
Photo by Jeff Belmonte