Being in the people helping business is one of the most interesting tightropes I have ever walked. On the one hand, I want to help people.
On the other hand, I want to pay my bills. I have a bias towards the actual field of counseling. Not all counseling is done by counselors. Some is done by Social Workers and some by Psychologist, while others yet is done by people with a different license and label. They all have unique abilities and benefits. For myself, I have a bias toward the process of counseling.
If I lived in Texas, this wouldn’t be a problem. In the state of Michigan it can be a bit of a problem. The State of Michigan has chosen to set up it’s insurance regulations to favor those with a social work or psychology license.
That’s fine and well.
It is certainly their prerogative and no one made me pick the counseling license.
But as I’ve already written, I have a bias toward the counseling system.
This brings me to the point of this post. The majority of my business is fee for services counseling.
That is to say that most clients pay me a nominal fee for each session. This has a lot of perks for them that I am going to get into in my next post on my company blog at www.creativesolutionsgr.com but today I want to address the number one question I get when people realize they can’t use their insurance.
They invariably ask why I don’t “take” their insurance.
The conversation often goes like this:
Them: I have Blue Cross or Priority Health, do you take them?
Them: Why not?
The truth is, I would love to take those insurances.
But they don’t take me. For whatever reason, they have decided they don’t like my license and because for them it is about making money and not doing what’s in the best interest of their consumer they refuse to budge.
I have 48 credit hours of classes at the Masters Level in the art, science and skills of counseling.
I have almost 55 credit hours at the doctorate level for counseling.
Many of the licenses that these insurance companies do take have less than a quarter of those totals. Some have taken courses in grant writing as a required part of their program.
A necessary and vital tool no doubt but how is that going to help you in the counseling session?
This isn’t about skill or aptitude. It’s about money
for the insurance companies plain and simple.
I often tell my billing person to remember the insurance person’s goal is not to accept our claim but to adjust it.
I once had a claim denied because I signed where it was written, “signature required.” The claim was denied because they actually wanted me to write my name out.
Call the insurance company; you get one person who tells you to do one thing. Then you do it.
And no results occur.
Call back; get someone else who tells you, “Well, I don’t know why that person told you that, they shouldn’t have…”
I have high hopes that this will change. Someday, licenses will be accepted on their merit not on who was around to write the rules fifty years ago. License reciprocity will be a reality not a dream.
Until then, you need to remember that we are not powerless. You have choices. You can call your insurance provider and complain. You don’t have to give them your money every month for less and less coverage.
You don’t have to take whatever they give out, even if it isn’t something you don’t want.
Let them know how much you like or don’t like their services.
You can also choose to pay in a fee for services situation. For many people, this is a viable option with a lot of benefits that I will explore on Thursday at the CSC blog.