Southampton, PA Psychologist
Stephen Britchkow-Office and Home Visits Available
Serving Lower Bucks, Eastern Montgomery Counties and NE Philadelphia

Fees & Payment Policies

Choosing a competent therapist that is right for you can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. People seek psychological support and guidance for life's most serious challenges and require competence, wisdom, and dedication to ongoing in-depth training, the highest level of care, compassion and excellent listening skills from their therapist. I do my best to keep my fees as reasonable and competitive as possible with other psychologists having comparable experience and training.

Seeking the best mental health care is like most other areas in that paying the lowest cost for a service may not necessarily satisfy your needs. Cost is only one consideration for selecting the most qualified therapist that you will be comfortable with and trust.

I invest a lot in my ongoing training, which is necessary due to my scope of practice and important new developments in the field of mental health. I personally believe that my clients are better served by using their out of network insurance benefit because it empowers them to find the best therapist to meet their needs. Payment ($145.00 per session) is required at the time of your scheduled appointment. I will provide you with a detailed receipt that contains all the information that insurance companies require for reimbursing out of network services. Clients have shared with me that in the past when they used their insurance "in network" insurance providers there was too much emphasis on psychopharmacological treatments (pills and not skills) and the direct insurance providers generally had less experience, training and expertise. I prefer a wellness-holistic approach to enhance and support a client's life. This includes an emphasis in diagnosing the underlying causes of psychological distress (which prescription medication can mask), counseling, life style changes, diet, supplements and nutrition. My recommendations are research based.

My fee is $145.00 per session at my location in Upper Southampton. There is no extra cost for the initial in-take evaluation session which lasts longer than one hour. 

There is no extra cost for couples, marriage or family counseling. My fee is based on my time not the number of people involved in the session. Some clients need to be counseled in their homes and I try to accommodate their request when my schedule allows. There is a charge of $5.00 per mile to travel to your location. For example, if I travel 3 miles the cost of each session would be $160.00. 

Some clients combine my visits with phone sessions. The cost of a phone session is $145.00. I also work with clients exclusively with phone sessions who live further away. 

Phone sessions are scheduled and paid for in advance by check or through Paypal (a company that handles online payment).

I work with insurance companies as an out of network provider. Briefly, this means that I will provide you with a receipt to submit to your insurance company. Reimbursement is determined by the provisions of your policy.

Should I use my insurance benefits or pay out of pocket if that is an option financially?

Most people want to use their insurance benefits to the fullest. However, it may be advantageous in the long run not to use insurance if you are able to pay on your own (out of pocket). The unfortunate reality is that seeking mental health care through your insurance can sometimes have unplanned negative consequences.

Insurance companies only cover care that is "medically necessary". This means, that they will typically only cover counseling for issues that have a recognized mental health diagnosis attached to them. Providers are required to assign a diagnosis and share this with your insurance company in order for you to get reimbursed for any counseling you received. This becomes part of your medical health record (explained in more detail below).

Information many people who use insurance are not aware of:

When submitting a claim to your health insurance, you require your provider to provide the clinical information that the insurance company wants to substantiate the medical necessity of your care. Your diagnosis and the supporting evidence for that diagnosis becomes part of your health record. It could potentially increase the cost of medical and insurance policies and career hiring and advancement that take your health record into account without your knowledge. People take for granted that only patients or caregivers may get copies if their medical records under the HIPPA law. In fact, there are many other individuals and organizations that can access a patient's medical records without a patient's permission. Personal medical information can be obtained by anyone who helps you pay for your healthcare, from insurance, to the government to your employer. For example, the Medical Information Bureau serves the information needs of almost 500 health and life insurance companies in North America that seek health, medical conditions tests and results, as well as habits such as smoking, overeating, gambling and drugs about consumer-patients who request to be insured. Clients that receive my services and pay out of pocket do not have their private information shared with insurance companies.

All of this is not to say that you shouldn't use your health plan mental health coverage. Nothing should stop or prevent you from getting the therapy you need. It is vitally important that you do so. You need to make a wise informed decision about payment and therapist selection.

Sliding Scale Statement

I do not offer a sliding scale fee for two reasons. The first is that unlike other therapists that may charge substantially more money for an initial evaluation I do not. I want to help clients over time. The evaluation is included in my regular fee per session. There is a substantive advantage in receiving an in depth holistic evaluation (that requires research, training and experience) to determine the actaul cause of symptoms that bring people into therapy. Also knowing specifically what needs to be focused on can result in fewer sessions (less cost) to reach your goals. The second reason is that your holistic therapeutic plan and the frequency of sessions can usually be adjusted to meet your budget. Some cases may require more intensive intervention. 

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