Most health insurance companies and/or health insurance benefits now include some form of mental health coverage. Your health insurance policy may include such an option. However, before you make use of this benefit, you need to be aware of the following issues:
Most people with health insurance assume they can just use their mental health benefits on the basis of their desire to participate in counseling or psychotherapy, or with only a letter of referral from their doctor.
The reality is that insurance companies require that mental health treatment be “medically necessary.” To be medically necessary, treatment must address a mental disorder.
Counseling or psychotherapy intended solely for self-improvement or for normal life stress reactions is not considered medically necessary by insurance companies, and would need to be self-pay.
Permanent Health Records
Should you elect to use your health insurance benefits to pay for therapy, your diagnosis, symptoms, substance abuse issues (if any), and history will become part of your permanent medical records. I would be required to give you a psychiatric diagnosis using the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV book of diagnoses, published by the American Psychiatric Association. This diagnosis describes the nature of the distress you are experiencing which also becomes a part of your permanent medical records.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Once your information is released to your insurance company, I can no longer provide any assurance of privacy. These records are often accessible to other insurance companies, and on occasion, can be accessed by employers or private investigators.
If all of this sounds scary, take heart…
My services are always available on a cash basis, and I take all major credit cards.
Insurance Plans Accepted
Premera Blue Cross and First Choice, including payment through Employee HSA (Health Savings Account) cards.