Austin Psychologist - therapy and couples counseling

Empower Yourself to Change!
813 W. 11th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 627-9633
dr.sarahwalker@gmail.com
Sarah Walker, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Compassionate Counseling in Austin, TX

Fees and Insurance - FAQ


How often will I come to counseling?

After our initial intake session(s), we will collaborate on a treatment plan that focuses on the goals you have set for counseling.  Because I tailor a specific course of treatment for each individual client, I cannot predict ahead of time the anticipated number or frequency of visits until that initial assessment.  However, for most clients the initial course of treatment requires 4-6 weekly sessions, and we re-evaluate the frequency and progress of treatment after that.


How long is each appointment, and how much does it cost?

Psychotherapy appointments are typically 50 minutes long, one session per week.  However, on occasion I schedule 90 minute sessions, or briefer 30 minute sessions, depending on your treatment plan.  Fees for counseling range between $120 to $150.  I do keep a number of sliding scale spots for those in financial distress.


Do you take insurance for psychotherapy appointments?

I was formerly on the in-network panel for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.  However, as of 9/1/11 I am no longer on their in-network panel.  Most PPO insurance plans have some out-of-network coverage, and I can help you to submit forms for reimbursement of your therapy costs.  For many plans, once you meet a deductible they will reimburse you for 50-80% of their allowable costs.  Thus your out-of-network costs may be similar to your in-network co-pays.


How do I get out-of-network counseling reibursement?

Contact your insurance company by calling the number on the back of your card for mental health or behavioral health services.  Ask what the reimbursement process is for out-of-network providers.  Be sure to ask if you need a pre-authorization code for your sessions (some plans won't reimburse without it).  Find out if there are specific forms you need to submit to get your sessions covered.


Why did you stop taking insurance?

There are several reasons why I decided to stop being an in-network provider. 

  • I believe strongly in protecting your privacy, but on an insurance panel I do not have control of confidential information they need to approve your treatment.
  • Insurance companies require that I submit a diagnosis of a mental disorder in order to provide coverage; clients who did not meet full criteria for a mental illness may be denied coverage because it is not deemed "medically necessary." 
  • Because the insurance company is paying part of your bill for psychotherapy, they are also entitled to information about your counseling sessions - the frequency, treatment plan, and other confidential details. 
  • In order to contain their costs, they are also more actively trying to dictate the treatment plan and what they determine is "medically necessary" treatment.  In effect, this meant I was working for the insurance company rather than my clients! 
  • Leaving the insurance panel allows me to work directly for you the client - rather than follow the directives of an insurance representative who has never met you.   I am happy to discuss issues of confidentiality regarding insurance information if you have further questions about it.