Most people don’t know what happens behind closed doors in insurance companies, especially when it comes to mental health services. These kinds of services might include counseling, psychiatry, inpatient or residential treatment, and other lower levels of intensive treatment. When you’re seeking out new mental health services it might feel like your only option is to go “in-network” with your health insurance. There are reasons why out-of-network mental health services might be more beneficial for you:
Your information is more private... When you use in-network mental health services, your provider is required to include detailed information about your treatment. These notes and other various documentation is visible to your insurance company and whomever holds the insurance policy in their name. In out of network mental health services, your information is only seen and known by your direct provider. The caveat to this is if your provider believes you’re a harm to yourself or others, or if they know/suspect of any abuse of a minor or elderly person. Even in those cases, your provider should be giving the minimal amount of information needed to carry out their mandated report.
You have more control over your treatment… Insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis in order to cover your mental health services. This means they dictate how many sessions are covered and what type of treatment methods are used. If you want long-term mental health services, like counseling, that may not be covered unless your provider can prove to your insurance company that you need it. Even if they do what they can, it doesn’t guarantee that your insurance company will agree. Out of network services allow you and your provider to choose the frequency and length of time for your treatment. Your provider will also have more freedom in treatment methods used.
Your provider will have more time to dedicate to you… When providers go through insurance companies for mental health services, they spend a significant amount of time completing required documentation. If you choose an out of network provider, they will have more time to spend focusing on you and researching the most helpful methods for your concern.
It can be challenging to find a provider you feel comfortable with, let alone a provider that’s in network for your insurance. If you have the opportunity to seek out of network treatment, even if it’s less frequent for the moment, weigh the pros and cons. You will have more control and freedom with your mental health services going through out of network, which might be exactly what you need.