Even if you have insurance, you might find that you prefer to self-pay for your sessions. Here are some advantages of self-pay:
- Increased privacy and confidentiality: When you use insurance, you automatically authorize insurance company personnel to access your records and discuss your treatment with your provider. When you self-pay, the only circumstance in which your records can be released to others without your consent would be a court order–a very rare phenomenon.
- No need for a diagnosis of a mental disorder: Insurance companies will pay only for treatment of diagnoses listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. In order to bill insurance, your provider must assign a diagnosis, which is transmitted to the insurance company with each billing. This becomes part of your digital record, which is accessible by your insurance company and any other entity with which they share your information.
- No risk of hacked insurance records: Insurance companies are supposed to safeguard their sensitive digital information, including your diagnosis and treatment history, As the news of the past several years shows, those safeguards are subject to breach. When you self-pay, you avoid that risk entirely.
- You and your provider–not the insurance company–decide how long and how often your sessions should be, and what sort of work to do: Insurance companies will pay only for certain lengths of time and certain modalities of treatment, and can disallow or question longer or more frequent sessions. When you self-pay, you and your provider determine how to work together, without the interference of a third party who has little knowledge of your particular situation, and an incentive to deny treatment.
- Improved focus and efficiency: Many people find that self-pay helps them focus on the work more effectively–if you’re paying for it, you value it.
Of course, if you have any questions, please ask Dr. Chalmer.
Note to Medicare subscribers: If you have Medicare, the rules are somewhat different, so be sure to let Dr. Chalmer know if your have Medicare even if you would prefer to self-pay.