Private Pay vs. Insurance

Why should I choose to pay for therapy myself?

There are advantages and drawbacks to both of out-of-pocket/private payment and to using insurance and Medicaid. Obviously, the biggest drawback to private pay is that it is an immediate out-of-pocket expense. However, there are several advantages of private pay that may make the expense worthwhile.


There is a Potentially Reduced Service Cost:

For some clients, their insurance providers require a co-pay and a large deductible to be met when seeking treatment, with the additional feature that standard rates for service apply. By not taking insurance, we are free to set our own rates and offer discounts to our clients. This means that privately paying clients can actually pay less than those who pay with insurance, depending on where they fit in the sliding scale, how long treatment lasts, and the details of an individual's insurance plan.


Therapy, especially when you are paying privately, is always an additional expense, in more ways than one. There are travel expenses and the time commitment it takes to make therapy effective. However, the rewards can greatly outweigh temporary monetary costs. How much is too much to pay for peace of mind, the renewal of a relationship, or finally finding freedom in an area of life that has previously seemed unattainable? $500? $1000? $5000? Some people would pay ten times that to experience the real progress and change that can happen in therapy. What is the change you are seeking worth to you?


What about Confidentiality and Privacy?

Clients who pay privately are guaranteed that the only people who know any of the details of therapy are themselves and their therapist. Aside from normal limits to confidentiality, therapy is completely confidential, without any third party being privy to information exchanged in session.


Will I have a diagnosis?

Most insurance providers require a mental health diagnosis in order for therapy to be covered. This means that many issues (marital problems, life stress, or personal growth) are not covered by insurance. When clients pay privately, there is no requirement of a mental health diagnosis for treatment, which means that anyone can seek treatment. Private pay also carries the additional benefit of reducing pressure to pathologize normal individuals who simply need help coping with some area of life. Finally, treatment without the necessity of a mental health diagnosis means that the stigma of some diagnoses can often be avoided.


Could insurance impact the duration of my treatment?

Private pay clients have complete control of the duration and style of their treatment. Modalities that are ethically viable but not covered by insurance are open to private pay clients. Private pay clients are able to choose the focus of their therapy, the duration of therapy, and the frequency of therapy, and even the length of individual sessions.


Is it important to have a financial investment in your own treatment?

Research shows that clients who have to pay something for their treatment have more positive outcomes than those who receive free treatment. Not only do you get what you pay for, but that you are paying privately often provides extra motivation and incentive to make the most of therapy.