Nothing about obsessive-compulsive disorder is easy. If you or a loved one suffer from OCD, you likely know what I mean. Aside from having to deal with the actual symptoms of the disorder, you also have to work on getting the proper diagnosis, understanding what OCD really is, perhaps learning how to not enable your loved one with the disorder, and finding the right treatment. Achieving each one of these objectives is a major accomplishment.
Let’s say you’ve completed all these stepping-stones toward your goal of recovery and you’ve either found a great therapist, or at least know what type of therapy you or your loved one needs.
How are you going to pay for it?
Many of us cannot afford to pay for medical treatment without health insurance. I’ve previously written about the advantages of living near a large research university and the possibility of receiving free treatment there. What I’d like to touch upon today, however, is how to get what you rightfully deserve from your own health insurance company.
Dr. Fred Penzel has written a gem of an article on this topic. I highly recommend reading it even if it’s not relevant to your current situation. The information he provides, while specifically meant for those seeking treatment for OCD, can be useful when dealing with other illnesses as well.
Here, in my opinion, is one of the most important things Dr. Penzel has to say:
There is a little secret that your insurance doesn’t want you to know about. The rules say that your company is responsible for providing you with adequate treatment by properly trained practitioners.
This is something my family dealt with at one point when trying to find a good therapist for Dan. Our insurance company gave us a list of psychologists and social workers who were “qualified” to treat OCD. After calling each and every one of them on the list, it was clear to me that not one of them specialized in treating OCD. Some of them had never even heard of exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy.
Try explaining that to the insurance company: that their qualified mental health professionals really aren’t qualified after all. As I said at the beginning of this post, nothing pertaining to OCD is easy. But Dr. Penzel walks us through exactly what needs to be done to get the proper treatment we deserve. And by proper treatment, I mean a competent, experienced therapist who is trained in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, whether they are “in-network” or not.
In our own case, I did end up finding a wonderful therapist who wasn’t on “the list” but fortunately was an in-network provider. He was my son’s therapist for over three years, and I’m grateful that we did not end up having to fight for Dan to see him.
In his article, Dr. Penzel reminds us that our insurance companies aren’t doing us any favors or bending over backwards for us when we insist on what is rightly ours and they actually comply. We pay good money for our benefits, and as much as these for-profit companies might try to tell us otherwise, they are legally required to pay for proper care.
Of course, this brings up another issue: the shortage of proper care. Sigh. As I said, nothing about OCD is easy.