POLICIES & PAYMENT
Office Policies and Payment:
Psychotherapy is a process involving collaboration, mutual trust and openness about expectations. In keeping with this, the following statement outlines my expectations and office policies. Please review this carefully.
Most appointments occur on a weekly basis, although sometimes sessions are held more or less frequently. Appointments last 50 minutes. Your appointment time is held exclusively for you. If you know you will need to cancel, I ask that you inform me as soon as you are aware of this, so that I can make other arrangements. If you do not provide at least 24 hours’ notice of cancellation, you will be charged the full fee except in cases of emergency. (Please note that insurance companies will not cover this charge, and you will have to pay the entire amount out of pocket.) In rare situations, a phone session may be used in place of our regular meeting, but insurance will not pay for this.
I check my voice mail about every few hours on weekdays up until 9:00 P.M., and at least once a day on weekends. If you need immediate support before I am able to reach you, please contact Crisis Intervention Services at (610) 279-6100 or 1(800)SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).You should contact 911 or go to your local hospital emergency room if you are at risk of self-harm.
Please contact me by phone. Please do not send any confidential information through e-mail, since the internet is not a confidential avenue of communication. I do not accept connections with clients or communicate through Facebook or other social networking sites. Please do not use my cell number to communicate except in the case of a true emergency. Please do not communicate to me by text.
My fee for professional services is $150 for a fifty minute session. I have a few slots for a sliding scale fee if you cannot pay the full fee. I accept some insurance as an in-network provider at this time. The fee for group therapy is $50 or the copay if you have insurance. If there is an increase in fees, you will be informed at least one month in advance. You will be charged for additional services provided at your request or for your benefit, such as report writing, consultation with other professionals, or phone calls lasting over ten minutes. Insurance will not cover this. Payment is requested in full at the time of your visit. If you are having trouble with your bill, please let me know so that we can discuss other possible payment arrangements. Ultimately, though, you are responsible for your bill, and if you do not pay, your account will be turned over to an attorney or collection agency.
Insurance coverage is available at this time for Highmark, Aetna, United Behavioral Health, Cigna and Keystone Health Plan East and Personal Choice.
What about Insurance?
Many clients assume they will use their insurance to cover the costs of therapy. And while mental health coverage is available on most health insurance plans, benefits, deductibles and coverage varies. It is important to check with your insurance company about specific information, including what is covered, how much is covered and how deductibles and copays work.
Although I participate with some insurance plans, you need to be aware that some insurance plans, at times, require therapists to submit detailed information for review for some clients. This might include therapy progress notes, diagnoses, recommendations and information communicated to other professionals such as psychiatrists or physicians. I have a commitment to privacy and confidentiality in the therapy setting, which could have to be compromised. Being aware that confidential and private information will be reviewed and kept on file can certainly hamper many clients' comfort sharing personal information in therapy.
While I realize that some clients simply cannot afford to pay more than their copay, it is important to be aware of the requirements from insurance at times and to weigh the greater comfort and privacy in therapy if you do not go through insurance. Also, the copay may not be that much less than the possible negotiated fee if you need a sliding scale.
It is important to recognize that there may be some drawbacks to using your mental health benefits. All insurance companies require a psychiatric diagnosis before providing any reimbursement, and this diagnosis becomes part of your permanent record. Although the information is considered confidential, submitting a claim for reimbursement may create some risk to privacy or future eligibility when seeking new insurance policies, such as life insurance.
If you do not use your insurance, please note that therapy costs may be deductible as medical expenses on your tax return.
Using a Health Savings Account, Flex Account, or HRA/HSA for therapy
Using a pre-tax Flex or Health Account for counseling is a way to save money and avoid the hassles of managed care. Unlike using your health insurance for therapy, this route may not always require you to provide a mental health diagnosis.
I’m able to directly charge credit cards associated with your employer sponsored HRA or HSA (Health Savings Account; Flex Spending Account) type account. I can accept HSA type checks for counseling services too.
I do not go to court or accept clients in my practice who need a therapist to do this. The only exception is if a judge orders me to do so. If required by law and you sign a release for me to do so, my fee is $1200 per day plus $150 per hour for driving there and back to my office and must be paid by the Monday prior to the week of the court date.