Have Insurance? There's Still No Guarantee You Can Get Mental Health Care

Have Insurance? There's Still No Guarantee You Can Get Mental Health Care

Brian Poynter is a licensed counselor in Nashville. Like many therapy offices, Poynter accepts only cash payments, citing the low reimbursement rates and the substantial paperwork required to navigate the corporate insurance claims systems.  [Photo: Shelley Mays/The Tennessean]

Brian Poynter is a licensed counselor in Nashville. Like many therapy offices, Poynter accepts only cash payments, citing the low reimbursement rates and the substantial paperwork required to navigate the corporate insurance claims systems. [Photo: Shelley Mays/The Tennessean]

In January, Nashville therapist Brian Poynter faced the prospect of losing 25 patients whose sessions were primarily paid for by a major employer.

The employer previously covered 80 percent of each session’s cost, leaving patients to pay the remaining bill. In a drastic change, the employer stopped the popular program, instead telling employees to use insurance.

However, the insurance company did not cover Poynter’s counseling services.  

Like many therapy offices, Poynter accepted only cash payments, citing the low reimbursement rates and the substantial paperwork required to navigate the corporate insurance claims systems.

Faced with the prospect of losing 25 clients who needed his services, Poynter embarked on the weekslong process of applying to have his care covered by the insurance provider. After months of waiting, he learned his application was rejected because he failed to check a single box on the questionnaire.

Nate Rau and Dave Boucher, writing for The Tennesseean, dive deep into the state’s health insurance system. Read their breakthrough reporting HERE.

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