I want to start this blog straight off by saying that it brings me no joy in not working with insurance companies. I recognize that access to mental health care is a very important issue, and one that I consider in multiple other ways in my business (which I’m sure I’ll address in another blog). But, just to get it out of the way, let me make my stance clear: I would happily work with insurance companies if they paid me what I’m worth, if they paid me on time, if I felt that they worked on behalf of their paying customers and their paneled providers, and if they afforded me the respect of having full decision-making authority regarding the treatment, diagnosis, and care of my clients. Until that day comes, however, I’m a cash-only practice, and I won’t consider paneling.
WIth that said, I’m certain that there are others of you out there, already in private or group practice, that feel the same way I do. This post is for you.
Some things to consider when leaving insurance panels or opening a cash only practice:
- MARKETING. Your marketing is massively important. This goes beyond just a profile on Psychology Today (though the way you present your practice there can make a big difference). If you aren’t getting referrals from insurance companies, how else might your ideal client find you? At minimum, I recommend creating a website that showcases who you are, what you’re about, and exactly what you do. Your ideal client is much more likely to choose you when they feel like they know you, and a well-done website works to introduce them to you as an individual and a unique provider.
- NICHING. Wait, do I mention niching in every post? That’s because that’s just how essential niching is. When people are looking for support, it’s almost always very specific: they have a problem they want support with, and they are looking for an expert in working with that problem. A client will almost always choose someone they view as a specialist in their area of need over a jack-of-all-trades. Many of us that have been in the field for awhile have several options for niching, as we might have numerous certifications or areas of specialty. My recommendation would be to hone in on who and what you are most passionate about treating, and really lean into that area.
- PRESENCE. Once you know who and what you want to be treating, you can let others in your area know that you’re there, and that you have openings. Listen, a therapist with ANY openings right now is a big deal (so many practices are full!), but a therapist that specializes in a specific area with openings is a treasure for doctor’s offices, wellness center, and other helping professionals desperate for a great referral. Contact the healthcare centers in the areas you want to serve and let them know you’re there!
There’s so much more to this – many ways to go about creatively filling up your practice without being on insurance panels. If you’re considering leaving panels, I strongly support your choice, and am always happy to answer questions about how I did it successfully. Please reach out via email with any questions! I’d love to talk further to see if we’re a good fit to work together in giving insurance companies the boot from your practice!