Ok, you’ve decided to make the jump and start a private practice. Congratulations! Now, your next objective is to make sure that you are making enough income to meet your needs and feel successful. So, how do you do that?
Well, the first thing is to decide: self-pay, insurance pay or a combination of the two. If you are going to be a self-pay only provider, you need to be sure that you are in an area that is able to support that choice. I am in a rural area and I started out self-pay only, however, in this area, people want to use their insurance. So after a couple of years, I went to accepting insurance and did the work of getting on insurance lists.
You must contact the company and you can negotiate, to a point, but it is best when groups negotiate. For example, your state association will negotiate rates for counselors/social workers, etc. and this helps everyone in your area. Doing this individually can be far more challenging since they have the upper hand when you are negotiating as a solo practitioner. Insurance companies will have limits on what they pay, what the co-pays are and therefore, how much you can charge your clients. This can be a hard pill to swallow, but $75 an hour is still far better than $0 an hour.
If you have a specialty, this can be a bonus because you are offering a service that is not readily available which makes you more marketable. If you are willing to do several areas, then you will have a larger pool to draw from and this is also a plus. Take account of what you really enjoy doing and where you are located in order to make these decisions.
We’ll come back to this topic in a later discussion. Hope you have a great day!