Insurance companies frequently pressure doctors to prescribe their preferred treatments (for patients who may not need it) or the doctors face a refusal to pay for the treatment. Moreover, insurance companies often limit the frequency and duration doctors can spend with a patient. This inevitably leads to less than optimal care and unhappy, unhealthy patients.
When insurance companies refuse to pay doctors for the full time needed to treat the patient, doctors are forced to take the quicker option of prescribing medications. This is why we see the 5-10 minute psychiatric appointment with insurance accepting psychiatrists. They are not paid for the extra time it takes to talk with the patient about diet, home life, or other vital influences. The doctor has just enough time to write a prescription and rush the patient out of the office and the insurance companies are happy that this keeps their costs lower. While medications are often an important type of treatment, these side effect prone medications are not the only tool in the psychiatric arsenal and utilization of only medications seldom improves the long term health for the patient.
Your privacy is very important, especially when it comes to mental health care. If a doctor takes health insurance they are required to release sensitive patient mental health information that is stored in large insurance databases and reportedly used by the insurance company and their corporate partners. Many patients don’t want their confidential mental health information to be available to large corporations that become friendly with insurance companies. But the powerful insurance system has made this legal and often you are not allowed to know how they are using your information. Thus, patient privacy is clearly not their goal.
Ultimately, by refusing to take insurance, we give the patient and doctor the ability to make better treatment decisions. Furthermore, we can provide real privacy. We can adjust appointment times to meet the patient’s needs and we can use whatever treatment options will work best for you, the patient.