As of August 1, 2022, Archway Counseling will no longer process insurance claims and will provide an invoice so that the client can process their claims with their insurance company. As such Archway’s stated full-fee is $180 per 50-minute session. I will consider a sliding scale, and would ask that as we negotiate a price for your session that you consider what you pay for mental health therapy as an investment into your mental health and well-being. Also, keeping in mind that I have over 15 years of experience, I work with many different issues and approach therapy from different counseling modalities, and I have a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, a PhD in Counseling Education with a clinical emphasis in couples and family counseling, and I am a Licensed Addiction Counselor.
In the past few years insurance companies have made billing more and more complicated and costly. Some insurances take 30 to 90 days to pay their claims, and make the payment receiving process complicated and expensive. Insurance companies are unable or unwilling to guarantee a cost of service until the service has been billed. This means that the therapist may not be paid for a particular service and puts the therapist in a double-bind financially. Or require that the therapist spend more unpaid time justifying the cost of a particular service to the insurance company. This practice breeds mistrust between the insurance company, the therapist and the client.
Insurances require a therapist to work for a set contracted rate. Insurances do not reimburse equally a therapist who has a PhD in Counseling as they do a PhD in Psychology, and the rates that that do pay these two different types of PhD’s are still inadequate to make a livable wage. Some insurances have not raised their rates for nearly two decades. One insurance will pay $60 per session and another will pay $125 per session. Insurance EAP’s only pay $20-60 per EAP session and the therapist is required to do the same amount of paperwork as a regular session as well as bill for the session. This is interesting because insurance companies continually increase premiums, deductibles, and copays and cite the “rising costs of mental health care.” Sadly, those rising costs don’t end up in the pockets of the psychotherapists doing the work.
Billing is another consideration. It takes at least another hour of unpaid time to jump through the hoops of processing one claim before it gets to the insurance company. Insurance companies don’t pay for medical billing, so either the therapist bills for a claim or pays a medical biller to bill the insurance company. Either way, the therapist is getting paid even less than the contracted rate. And if there is a snag in the billing, it can take much more time than that. I once spent nearly 30 hours trying to get paid for six sessions. I don’t even know how many hours my medical biller spent trying to get paid for these same six sessions. I never did get paid.
Insurances require that therapists keep them informed of any changes in addresses, specialties, and also require proof of licensure and insurance. Each insurance has their particular procedure to report these items. I recently had an insurance contact me to update this information. I had recently made a change in my mailing address and was happy to provide the insurance company the new information, despite the fact that I had already updated this information on a third-party portal