Concierge Counseling and Out-of-Network Counseling
In this article, we will be exploring the constraints of the American medical system attributed to the insurance framework. Increasingly, medical insurance and the American medical system are designed to manage critical care. This migration of focus consequently leaves a discernible void when it comes to preventative care and support for living a good quality of life in general. This has led, to the emergence of two predominant alternatives: out-of-network care and concierge care.
Concierge Counseling: Relevant Research
(See bottom of article for citations- read the full study here.)
A recent study by NIH reported that mental health issues are widespread, frequently going unnoticed and receiving insufficient treatment, especially following stressful life events. For various mental conditions, over half of the affected individuals do not receive the necessary care. This underdiagnosis and undertreatment often occur due to various obstacles when it comes to accessing and utilizing mental health services. Nearly 50%, the article states, of people dealing with mental health problems report that they do not seek behavioral health treatment because they face challenges in accessing care, including not knowing where to find suitable assistance.
The article continues to explain that depression, whether formally diagnosed or not, is linked to other physical health issues and significant healthcare expenses. However, even though people experiencing "psychological distress" and those with diagnosed depression result in similar per-person healthcare costs, only 4% of the expenses related to individuals with psychological distress are tied to mental health services, compared to 14% among those diagnosed with depression. This implies that people with psychological distress might not be recognized or treated for their mental health issues. Additionally, individuals dealing with psychological distress might seek help for unexplained physical symptoms, but their conditions may not be identified or treated as mental health issues. These findings underscore the importance of proactively serving patients, focusing on preventive mental health measures.
Amid the intricate tapestry of healthcare, the concept of out-of-network counseling emerges as a significant countermeasure to the limitations posed by the insurance-centric approach. What it means is your provider does not accept your, or any, insurance plans. Most out-of-network providers have systems of billing to support you receiving some sort of reimbursement per your own insurance benefits, but they do not work with any insurance companies directly.
This alternative path materializes when individuals opt to seek medical attention from healthcare providers who exist beyond the confines of their designated insurance network. This approach is commonly pursued when individuals require specialized medical attention, second opinions, or treatments that may not align with the coverage parameters of their insurance plan. But more and more, it is being pursued to receive care that is thorough, specific, and accessible to the patient.
What distinguishes out-of-network counseling is the increased level of expertise, experience, and time that practitioners often bring to the table. Therapists and specialists operating outside the established insurance network frequently possess a wealth of knowledge, honed skills, and a comprehensive understanding of specific medical nuances. This expanded proficiency can translate into more nuanced diagnoses, tailored treatment plans, and access to innovative medical approaches that might not be as readily available within the insurance-constrained paradigm.
By seeking out-of-network care, individuals can tap into an extended spectrum of medical options that offer heightened personalized attention and a broader range of treatments. This can contribute to an elevated quality of care and an increased focus on preventative measures, ultimately promoting overall well-being.
The emergence of concierge counseling presents another avenue for individuals looking to navigate the limitations of the insurance-centered medical system. This approach involves a direct relationship between patients and therapists, often in the form of a subscription-based model. In exchange for a regular fee, individuals gain enhanced access to healthcare services that extend beyond critical care. This includes personalized attention, extended appointment times, prompt responses from therapists, and a more comprehensive focus on preventative care and quality of life support. Concierge counseling aims to bridge the gap left by insurance systems, ensuring that patients receive a higher level of attention and care that can contribute to overall well-being. However, the accessibility of concierge counseling is restricted by its cost, making it a viable option primarily for those who can afford the additional expense.
Why We Should Care:
In the landscape of American healthcare, the insurance system's limitations have prompted the emergence of out-of-network care and concierge care as two potential solutions for obtaining comprehensive and personalized medical attention. Ultimately, understanding these emerging options is crucial for individuals seeking to navigate the intricate landscape of healthcare and make informed decisions about their well-being.
In mental health care, concierge care is noted by research to successfully pinpoint risks, link individuals to needed services, and facilitate the provision of the needed treatment, to those enrolled in the program.
Citations: Fragala MS, Tong CH, Hunter JL, Jelovic NA, Hayward JI, Carr S, Kim PM, Peters ME, Birse CE. Facilitating Mental Health Treatment Through Proactive Screening and Concierge Services in the Workplace. J Occup Environ Med. 2023 Feb 1;65(2):160-166. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002707. Epub 2022 Oct 3. PMID: 36190912; PMCID: PMC9897277.
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.