While not billing insurance for counseling services can result in more out-of-pocket expenses, there are benefits to using a sliding scale for services. My hope is to accept both insurance and sliding-scale payment for services in the future; however, while I am working on my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) using the sliding scale is my only option.
There are perks to this type fee scale:
- The number of therapy sessions is not limited. Insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis, and based on that diagnosis they approve a certain number of sessions. Recently I spoke with someone who was in counseling whose insurance only covered 6 sessions; she feels she could benefit from more. This also means a person can really structure counseling sessions around a timeline that works best for them, and start and stop the process during times they feel they could most benefit from this.
- Privacy. Billing your employer’s insurance means your employer or benefits person may know you are seeking counseling services.
- Case by case affordability. Using the sliding scale allows your counselor (if they would like) to create a fee schedule that is affordable on a case by case basis. With insurance, there is often a required copay amount the therapist has no control over.
- It helps those that don’t have insurance or don’t have insurance that covers counseling. For some, billing insurance is just not an option. This means they must find a clinician that will accept private pay.
I hope this sliding scale fee option works for my clients and appreciate being able to provide these services while I continue working towards my license.