Do you take insurance?

We often get asked if we take insurance here at ChangeWorks Hypnosis Center.  The fact is, we do not.  You’ll find that most hypnotherapists don’t, unless they are also a licensed medical professional, such as a Marriage & Family Counselor or an M.D.

However, I’d like you to consider a bigger question:  do you really WANT to use insurance for your problem? What are the risks of using your health insurance? Read this article and you may decide the answer is no.  I realize that your out of pocket costs NOW are higher when you buy healthcare using a fee-for-service model such as ours, but at least at that point your costs end, and that may not be the case when you use insurance.  Let me explain.

A friend of mine is an M.D. who has left the insurance model.  He explained to me something I hadn’t known before, and most people don’t. When you use your insurance for an issue, your doctor or practitioner must provide a diagnostic code, an ICD-9 code, in order to get paid.  That means if you go in to quit smoking or for help with anxiety or depression, fibromyalgia, IBS or whatever the case may be, they MUST diagnose you in order to get paid.  Once you are diagnosed, you now have a history, or pre-existing condition, in your medical record.  That can come back to cost you later in one of several ways.

If you lose your job and your insurance, you will find it more expensive and possibly more difficult, or even impossible, to get health insurance later on depending on what your “pre-existing” condition is.  Also, if you decide to get or change your life insurance, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise.  I know two people who recently got life insurance in their ’40’s.  One had been a smoker 10 years earlier, and the information was in his medical records.  Mind you, he’d quit, and the doctor knew that, but his quoted life insurance premium went from about $30 a month to over $160 a month because of “a history of nicotine use.”  If you’re thinking, after 10 years that should have gone away, I would have thought the same thing, but that was not his experience.  This was just in 2011, too.  So, are you prepared to pay an additional $1,560 a year for your life insurance in order to use your health insurance now for Chantix or the patch? 

Another friend, also in her ’40’s, and just this year (2012), had her quoted life insurance premium go from $60 a month to $78 a month because of a “history of depression.”  And it turns out that’s less of an increase than it could have been, because she’s on just one med for her depression, and sees her doctor regularly for it.  If she were on multiple meds, or had been on meds and then discontinued seeing her doctor, she was told that premium increase would have been much higher!

All of this because your doctor or mental health professional working with insurance is required to diagnose you in order to get paid.  Do you really need a diagnosis in order to seek help and get better?  We at ChangeWorks, as hypnotists, do not “diagnose,” and we do not “treat.”  We work with the whole person, holistically, to resolve problems from within.  Our clients will tell you, not only does the work help them with the problem they came in for, but the skills and techniques they learn help them in other areas of their life, for a lifetime.  Without a diagnosis and all the ramifications of that. 

Another concern with using insurance is confidentiality.  Many professionals choose to stay away from using their health insurance because a diagnosis would impact their job.  Most people think their health issues are private and shielded from their employer.  But who pays the lion’s share of the health insurance premium?  For a very thorough article on this issue, I recommend reading on at Oregon Counseling’s website at this link:  http://www.oregoncounseling.org/Consumer/RisksConfidentiality.htm

It’s YOUR health, and YOUR life.  You may decide that right now, for you, going the health insurance route is the choice you make.  But someone should inform you of the increased costs and risks down the road due to having diagnoses on your medical records, and no one does.  Because they are also inside the system, they aren’t letting you know.  As with so many things in this world, it is a caveat emptor situation — “let the buyer (or insured) beware.” 

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