Launching a private practice requires making many hard decisions. To avoid burnout, clinician-owners must increase their time doing actual patient care. This requires reducing the number of hours spent pushing papers, of which health insurance is perhaps the biggest culprit of providing (and in excess). So then, clinicians must choose whether or not to accept health insurance at their own practice. Our take? Health insurance prevents scaling of mental health practices. It’s just not worth it.
Insurance Companies Take More than They Give
Granted, insurance companies are businesses. We can’t blame them for trying to make money. But it’s important to distinguish their role in a patient’s wellbeing. Priority #1 for insurance companies is paying their shareholders, plain and simple. Their interest in customer well-being comes second at best.
In a free-market society, the health insurance company that cares the least for its patients loses the most customers. So there’s overlapping interests here, but only insofar as the insurance company can retain customers while spending the least amount of money on their customers’ healthcare needs.
Also (and this might come as a surprise), doctors don’t make money by contracting with health insurance companies. Health insurance companies do, however, maintain an exorbitant level of control over how their contracted physicians manage their medical practices.
In other words, the expertise clinicians gain throughout the many years of medical school is suddenly, forcefully, and scrutinizingly sifted by a business whose financial interests may be opposed to the trained clinician’s understanding of the best possible care that can be given to their patients. Therapists spend years and years in training to be able to help people feel better, not to be used by greedy insurance companies. Autonomy sounds like the much better (read: deserved) option.
Accepting Insurance Raises the Prices Charged for Non-Insured Payers
Biz Accounting 101: Income must exceed expenditures. When a business takes on a new expense, it must ensure the additional cost is still exceeded by money flowing into the business. Sometimes that means cutting other expenses or raising the price of a good or service.
Thus, a private practice owner isn’t allowed to raise their rates for one party (the insurance company) while keeping costs down for someone else (a non-insured payer). If the clinician chooses to keep their prices lower so that non-insured patients can afford their services, they must also eat the cost of the insurance fee. In order to keep costs low for non-insured patients and still keep the bills paid, refusing to accept insurance is the way to go.
Insurance Locks You In or Out
While there are some laws against insurance companies withholding care from patients with preexisting conditions, it doesn’t entirely stop that discrimination from happening. Insurance companies maintain the ability to approve or deny insurance coverage.
Insurance companies are private networks with exacting criteria. They can lock people out who need a certain type of care by finding loopholes through obfuscation. In other words, they are intentionally vague about their criteria for coverage.
Instead of jumping through all the hoops and confusing financial mess to determine what services are or are not covered under someone’s insurance plan, a simpler and more direct option is to post service costs online.
By avoiding insurance companies in their practice, clinicians can be transparent about pricing, collaborative with patients, and straightforward about what’s possible. Working directly with a physician eliminates the discriminatory hoops insurance companies make patients jump through.
Insurance is a Bet Against Yourself
Fear of the “what if’s” is one of the biggest reasons people buy insurance, despite our collective health being better than at any time in history. But the thought of disasters still scares many of us (looking at you COVID-19!), and buying insurance is a bet against our own propensity for healthy living.
Instead, plan for emergencies, take greater responsibility for your health by eating better and exercising, and invest in FDA and CDC approved preventative medicine (read: get your vaccines). We are huge advocates for taking responsibility for one’s own health. In most cases, ownership of your health and mindful self-care will save you more money and more doctor visits than any medicine.
There’s a More Straightforward, Affordable Approach to Healthcare in the U.S.
Health insurance benefits are often one of the most considered aspects of employment in America. But health insurance costs are squeezing workers and employers both completely dry. And for what? It isn’t helping the behemoth healthcare system in the U.S., nor is it even easing the burdens of healthcare-related anxiety. One poll shows that 8 in 10 Americans are concerned about access to health care, while insurance companies rake in record profits.
We realize that advocating against health insurance is a fairly revolutionary undertaking that goes against the established status quo. But we are passionate about pioneering and making the world better for mental health clinicians and mental health care seekers alike.
And thankfully, there is a free-market healthcare movement with strong wind in its sails. The future of healthcare stems from the financial choices of everyday people. The most democratic decision you can make in healthcare is deciding where to spend your money when it’s time to visit a physician.
Healthcare is strongest when physicians can work directly with their patients, without a third-party insurance business trying to control who they see, what they prescribe, or how much they charge their patients. So when their patients visit them (or any other private-practice physician), they are also investing in a more transparent, cost-effective healthcare experience.
There’s another way to do things. And it works really, really well. Simply Psych is here to help clinicians scale their private practices while keeping their autonomy intact. How can we help you grow? Check us out at www.SimplyPsych.com to learn more and get started today!