Rise Up! Ask For a Raise
Many therapists have rightfully complained about low reimbursement rates from managed care and insurance companies. Some have gone to fee for service payments and abandoned managed care altogether.
Dropping all managed care contracts and only accepting fees paid by clients is one way to handle the problem. Doing that cuts out many clients that have paid into their insurance and expect to be able to use it for counseling. In many demographics, practices would suffer unless the counselor's niche occupies the upper end of the income spectrum. We decided to take matters into our own hands. We called Aetna, Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, Value Options, United Behavioral Health, Magellan, Horizon Behavioral Health, ACI Specialty Benefits, and Oasis Health Care. These are a fairly good representative sample of managed care and insurance companies. All of their provider relations people assured me they were not planning to reduce fees. We politely asked each one if there was a way to get an increase in reimbursement. After Insurance Task Force members Joyce Marter, Dan Stasi and other IMHCA Members met with Blue Cross Blue Shield, they increased their fee structure 17% in response to the IMHCA meeting with their executives, Aetna offered a 12% increase, Value Options made no promises but said they are reviewing an increase possibility across the country next year, UBH/OPTUM said they will consider an increase for individual providers when they send a request in writing outlining the reasons, Magellan will also be reviewing an increase in rates. Horizon offered an increase of 8%, ACI gave a raise of 11%, and Oasis will give a 5% raise on EAP and regular managed care.
A current list of the largest managed care and insurance companies listing payments is soon to be included on this page.
DO IT! Call your insurance/managed care companies and ask. Remember, we encourage our clients to take a risk to improve, shouldn't we? Please consider emailing your experiences with your insurance and managed care contracts, bad and good; to the ICA/IMHCA INSURANCE TASK FORCE: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Also keep up with further developments in ICA website under Insurance Task Force at: ilcounseling.org.