Welcome to Rate The Insurer
Friends, colleagues, interested members of the public,
Some years after taking down the original ‘Rate The Insurer’ web site, I continue to regularly field inquiries: Where is the web site? Any new information on insurance companies? How much is such-and-such insurance company reimbursing, really? How is that company to deal with?
The number of continuing questions is certainly due in part to the reference to Rate The Insurer in mental health clinicans’ resource books such as Zuckerman’s “The Paper Office” (see http://www.hipaahelp.info/) and Frager’s “Managing Managed Care: Secrets From A Former Case Manager” (see http://www.psychadminpartners.com/index.html).
But I have come to believe that at least part of the reason for the continuing requests for the Rate The Insurer web site is because CLINICIANS WANT THE INFORMATION, and they cannot find comparable resources elsewhere. And I am just altruistic enough to have convinced myself THE PUBLIC DESERVES THE INFORMATION.
Mental health clinicians, in order to make sound business decisions, need to know whether a particular insurance company is terrible or a breeze to work with. Whether they kill you with onerous, invasive credentialing and therapy documentation demands, or whether they are starving for competent clinicians to double their phantom panel of one in your region, and are willing to make it easy for you to get on the panel, to reimburse you at a decent rate for the hard work you do, and to reimburse you in a timely way. Clinicians need to have this information in ‘real time,’ as fresh as the last contact a colleague had with a ‘customer service’ voice mail loop that hung up on them, or the most recent “lost” fax. Current resources at best are semi-annual or even less frequent surveys in industry bulletins that aggregate data using uncertain methodology.
Here is a news flash. Insurance companies will not tell you the truth about what they are like to work with, or how quickly they actually reimburse. Your colleagues will. (Unless of course if they are contracted to a particular insurance company and that contract includes a gag clause that prevents them from disclosing facts about how little they are being reimbursed, or disclosing facts about how they are treated by the insurance company. As before, we will develop work-arounds for those therapists with conscience who want to inform their colleagues and the public but believe they are choked by such gag clauses.) Most mental health clinicians are in it because we actually like to help people. No one starts out to become indentured (at least, not after graduate school). And mental health clinicians have sufficient conscience — unlike the profit-first, care-be-damned owners and operators of health insurance companies — to tell the public the truth about the insurance companies they have just signed on with through their jobs and human resource departments, and to which they will soon or are now paying premiums.
Now is the time for mental health clinicians to rate insurance companies, to report amounts the companies reimburse, and to disseminate that information widely for the benefit of our colleagues and in the public interest.
Consumers of mental health services
- Deserve to know how the companies with whom they have bought policies or are contemplating buying policies are viewed by the mental health professionals who interact with these companies on a daily basis
- Want to ask their human resource departments why they are buying policies with insurance companies that treat the professionals they want to see for care so badly
- Will ask their human resource departments why they don’t do better
Purchasers of mental health insurance policies such as small business owners and human resource departments
- Deserve to know how insurers treat their employees when they access services
- Deserve to know how insurers treat the professionals who interact with those companies
- Understand that abused, disgruntled, underpaid professionals do not create a fully attentive panel to whom the employers will be sending their employees
Mental health Professionals
- Deserve to know how their colleagues view companies with which they interact daily
- Need to know what these companies are reimbursing other professionals in other regions of the country
- Need to have this information in a timely way
In future months, this site will be reconstructed. Ratings of insurance companies will be solicited from as broad a sample of practicing clinicians across the nation as possible (given the resources to do so). Ratings and reimbursement rates will be obtained in ‘real time,’ on an ongoing basis. And posted right here. The “Therapists’ Insurer Profiling (TIP) Scale”© will be re-introduced. Get ready to grade insurance companies from A to F! On variables that matter to you, the professional, and that matter to the public. Get ready to report how much these companies are reimbursing you, how quickly, and how easy or impossible they make it to work for them. Get ready to inform the public just how much personal information you have to give to the insurance companies about them in order that they may see you for help with their most intimate personal problems.
That’s why Rate The Insurer is coming back!
Watch here as we work together to build a national data base of insurance company quality ratings and reimbursement rates, and disseminate this information to the public.
Gordon I. Herz, PhD