(This is the first of a two-part post on terminating your
relationship with insurance and managed care companies.)
Earlier this month, I received this email from Marian Moldan, LCSW-R in New York. She wrote:
I have been in private practice for the past 30 years. I have recently decided to leave the insurance panels because they are eating up my family and client time with little or no financial return to speak of. Do you recommend sending a letter to clients first to prepare them for the change and then sending a letter to the panels? Thank you for a wonderful website, Marion.”
Marian! Congrats to you! And, I’m so glad you asked . . . . I, too, started out by applying to get on a zillion insurance and managed care panels. After several years of spending more time on billing, getting re-authorizations, completing mounds of paperwork, and ultimately losing thousands of dollars when the insurance companies refused to pay for my professional services already rendered, I resigned from all panels. I am happy to say that I have now been a fee-for-service practice for about 15 years and it feels great . . . !
Before you notify your clients of your decision to remove yourself from insurance panels, you should take time to read your contracts. Remember you have entered into legal obligations with each of the panels that you are on. Most insurance companies stipulate the process for terminating your relationship with them. All require written notice from a provider. Some require a minimum length of time before the termination goes into effect. They may even require that you continue to work with clients already under your care at a previously contracted rate. Read your contracts before you do anything.
If you are ready to leave insurance panels behind, re-read those contracts and check back in here. In my next post, I’ll tell you what other steps you should take to ethically, professionally, and effectively end your relationship with insurance and managed care.