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Alternatives to Insurance for Mental Health Care

 

It can be hard to access competent mental health care when you need it most.

While some progress has been made in requiring insurances to cover mental health needs, it can still be difficult to find good practitioners who are in your network. And even in those cases, insurance plans may have a high deductible, which can mean you will pay out of pocket for mental health services for months. And because of high administrative burden coupled with extremely low coverage rates, a considerable number of practices do not participate in insurance coverage networks.

As one practice put it, “reduced rates, extensive paperwork and rigid restrictions that are imposed on therapists by the insurance companies has pushed many of the most talented therapists away from working on insurance panels.”

So how can you get the mental health care you need?

Reimbursement: this is similar to the model used by many dental care practices. You do have to pay up front, but then your insurance company reimburses you or at least puts your payment towards your deductible for the year.

How it works: You pay your session fee at the time of service, and your therapist’s practice gives you a receipt that you send to your insurance company. Some companies also require a form or set of forms to be filled out. Some practices offer reimbursement service, that is, they will send in the receipt and forms for you.

While our practice does offer reimbursement services, not every psychology practice does. If your therapist does not, you can call your insurance company for instructions, or you may even want to try a fee-for-reimbursement app service such as Better.

Need-based programs: This may include sliding-scale fees such as community clinics may offer, which usually means clinicians are donating their time. This model may also include a discount clearinghouse service such as Open Path Collective, which allows low-income patients to find a therapist who is able to offer some sessions at a discount. Some practices also offer scholarships for those who are in financial need and do not have access. There may be a waiting list for free or nominal-cost services.

How it works: Services such as Open Path require signing up online. It’s a good idea to make sure there are therapists with openings in your location (usually our practice does have a few!) before paying a membership fee. For in-house sliding-scale or scholarship treatments, practices may require you to show that you are in financial need; there may also be a waiting list.

Professional Discounts: Practices may have agreements with local organizations such as businesses, schools and colleges, or medical facilities, so that their employees or students can get a discount. Sometimes this may be in the form of an EAP (employee assistance program) and sometimes it may be a different kind of arrangement.

How it works: If your workplace has an EAP (our practice participates with Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP as well as Quest EAP), ask what mental health services may be available. Often you can get 3-5 sessions for free. If your college has a counseling center, you may attend sessions there, or they may offer referrals to local practitioners. Otherwise you can ask your therapist directly what professional discounts they offer. Usually this will involve filling out a form of some kind. (Our practice offers certain professional discounts that are listed at the bottom of our financials page.)

Bottom line, if you are not sure what discounts may be available, please ask your therapist!

Online Services: Some practices may offer online sessions or may even specialize in only online services for somewhat of a discount. It’s important to carefully review any online therapy service you use to make sure they are legitimate, licensed, and well-reviewed. Online services are usually not appropriate for those under 18 except in rare circumstances. (Our practice does not currently offer online services.)

Support Groups: Most areas have a number of support groups for various issues that are peer-led, that is, you’re talking with others who may be experiencing similar issues as yours. You may want to look at Healthfinder, for example.

 

 

For more in-depth discussion of how to use out-of-network benefits, see wellbeing.com‘s page.

 

 

Depression and Mood Screening Clinic 2/28-3/1

 

Wondering if you have depression or a mood disorder?

Give us a call or email to set up an appointment with one of our caring mental health professionals for a brief screening during our depression and mood disorders screening clinic.

Depression can be treated–it’s not “laziness” or a character flaw!

Give yourself a chance to be involved in your own life (and enjoy it more)!  ❤

Screening Flyer Dep

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! Practice Loving Kindness for Mental Health

 

Be loving to yourself and to others: Mental illness deserves as much care as any other illness or injury. It’s not “laziness” or being “weak” or flawed in character. Practice acceptance and support instead of criticism.

Mental illness is usually unlike the movies. Cultivate loving kindness to yourself instead of judgment and criticism. [Try Loving Kindness meditation by Tara Brach to spread love to self and others.]

Remember that mental illness often affects every aspect of a person’s life and health.

It Takes Courage to Overcome a Phobia

Image: Courage the Cowardly Dog

Phobias are irrational or excessive fears. If a phobia interferes with someone’s everyday life, it may be anywhere from annoying to debilitating. Other phobias will only come up once every so often, so they are less intrusive.

If a phobia interferes with an everyday or essential activity–such as dental work, flying, or animals–a person might choose to get treatment in order to overcome it. Phobias can be treated by exposure treatment, an intervention in which the person is exposed to tolerable aspects of the phobia in a safe environment until their anxiety diminishes.

First, the treatment focuses on exposure to the least anxiety provoking aspects of the phobia, as determined by the patient in a “hierarchy of fear.” The accompanying anxiety is addressed until it diminishes to tolerable levels, however long that takes.

Then, and only then, does the exposure move to increasingly more anxiety provoking aspects of the phobia. This may take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the nature of the phobia and the person’s level of anxiety.

An example of a phobia hierarchy based on items generated by clients working in exposure treatment:

Hierarchy Example

Just thinking about exposure treatment may be anxiety provoking enough to count as exposure!

As a certain little pink dog has taught us, it takes courage to face your fears. Being courageous doesn’t mean not being afraid, it means taking action, even if it feels scary to begin.

Relating to Our Bodies with Self-Compassion

Kelly ( colleague in Millersville) has encouraging, supportive, and well-structured groups!

Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC

applying body lotion care cosmetic product*

Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 9-11am @ the counseling office: 304 N. George St., Millersville, PA

This 2-hour workshop will help you address body image dissatisfaction by helping change the way you think about your body. Shifting focus from evaluation and critique to care, appreciation, and compassion.

In this workshop you will learn how to:

  • Put media images into perspective
  • Stay in tune with physical states such as hunger and fullness, pleasure and pain
  • Appreciate your body more fully
  • Support yourself during those times when you feel shame due to suffering, perceived failure, or feelings of inadequacy
  • Relate to your body with compassion
  • Distance from self-comparison/competition with others

Each session will be a combination of practice, lecture, and group discussion. Each session is taught in a supportive environment with no more than 8 people.

Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC is the Facilitator. Contact Kelly@kellyfdennis.com to reserve your space.  Cost:…

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Birthday of Rosa Parks

Today is the 106th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks.

Dolly Chugh reviews The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks for Forbes. She describes why this should matter to your organization (and everyone’s!)

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