8 Reasons to See an Out-of-Network CounselorJun 17, 2023
Before taking a deep dive into the therapy world, I never would have considered looking outside of my insurance network to find a great therapist. I assumed it would be easier and less expensive to see an in-network therapist — that’s why we have insurance, right? I quickly learned that’s not always the case. Sometimes, it’s a better choice to see an out-of-network counselor. If you’re starting to look for a counselor, here are 8 reasons you may want to consider seeing an out-of-network therapist.
1. You’re looking for a counselor with a unique skill set
While many therapists are qualified to treat common challenges – such as anxiety or depression – if you are interested in working with a specialist to address a specific challenge, you might consider looking out-of-network. Private pay therapists often have more specialized practices. So if you come across a therapist whose skills directly speak to your needs, it’s worth reaching out. Picture your dream counselor. If you imagine one of the following – or someone with a similarly niche expertise – consider looking outside of your insurance network:
A counselor who understands religious trauma
A counselor who is trauma-informed
A counselor trained in trauma modalities
A counselor who brings in spirituality
A counselor who understands abuse
A counselor who provides group work to lower costs
2. You have a high deductible plan A deductible is the amount you have to pay upfront before your insurance coverage kicks in. If you have a $6,000 deductible and you haven’t had any other medical expenses yet in the year, you are responsible for paying up to $6,000 in therapy session fees out-of-pocket before your standard copay applies. This is a case where seeing an in-network therapist and out-of-network therapist can accrue effectively the same cost.
3. You want someone who has lived experience with trauma
Most counselors will not openly share their own stories due to hard and fast liscensure rules. In the Kingdom of God, this is not an issue. An out-of-network counselor can bring in her personal story if it is healed and helpful to do so.
4. You want highly personalized services If a counselor isn’t constrained by only providing services they can bill to an insurance company, they are often able to spend more time and creativity crafting the perfect treatment plan for you. Especially if you would like to receive mental health services for a long period of time, this extra attention may benefit your progress. Out-of-network therapy opens doors for out-of-the-box treatment. Out-of-network therapists can offer longer or more frequent sessions than insurance might cover. You can also explore out-of-the-box solutions. For example, if you are struggling with eating challenges, an out-of-network therapist might go with you to the grocery store or help you cook and eat healthful meals. These are services that an in-network therapist would not be able to bill (so they likely wouldn’t be offered). This is also true of services that are not intended to address a diagnosable mental health condition, such as couples counseling.
5. You want to combine group work and tailored conferences with talk therapy With MCCC, I have been able to create tailored conferences for the issues at hand, such as disordered eating and fawn conferences.
6. You don’t wish to use insurance benefits Privacy from your spouse and/or parents. If you are on your parent’s or spouse's insurance plan and are uncomfortable with them knowing you are seeing a counselor, you might consider paying out-of-pocket.
Privacy from your health insurance company. In order for your insurance to pay for therapy sessions, therapists are required to provide the company information regarding your sessions, including a diagnostic code. If you don’t want your insurance company to have access to any information about your mental health, consider out-of-network options.
7. You don’t want to wait to start counseling In cities such as Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C., many therapists choose not to accept insurances because they fill their caseloads easily and quickly. Especially for the less-known insurance plans, it can be very difficult to find a therapist who is in-network and accepting new clients. If you limit your search by insurance, you may have to spend months on a waitlist before seeing a therapist.
8. You found a great match! At the end of the day, your relationship with your counselor is one of the most important aspects of the healing process. If you only consider in-network therapists, you might eliminate therapists who would be a really good fit for you and maybe help you feel better faster. Choosing an in-network therapist who doesn’t make you feel comfortable or specialize in the areas you’re struggling with solely because they’re in-network is a waste of money (and not to mention time!). Prioritize the personality fit and you’ll find a great match — your mental health is worth it. YOU are worth it.
MCCC offers a wide range of ever-changing services. We are getting ready to launch a unique and affordable course (SOURCE) in the Fall, we offer crisis group work beginning at the end of June, we offer parental alienation classes, free podcasts and free quarterly inner child work. We also work with our clients for every-other week sessions, if that works best.