Insurance panels for therapists can be a strategic move if you hope to expand your practice and are wondering how to get more therapy clients. Being paneled — also known as being credentialed — means you and a group of providers work with an insurance provider to offer care to their clients. As a result, your services are more accessible to a broader range of people seeking mental health support. This can be a game-changer.
Research by the National Alliance on Mental Health found that more than 1 in 4 people (28%) who seek mental healthcare use an out-of-network provider. In short, insurance is a huge barrier for people seeking care because finding in-network providers can be difficult, and therapy can be expensive out-of-pocket. Thus, getting on insurance panels can be the differentiator that sets you apart, making your services more accessible and affordable for a broader range of potential patients.
While the process might seem daunting at first, this guide walks you through how to get paneled with insurance providers, so you can get back to doing what you love.
Benefits of Getting Paneled with Insurance
Knowing how to get on insurance panels can offer several benefits. First and foremost, it opens up new opportunities for you and your clients. It can allow you to increase your income potential while enhancing access to mental health services for your clients.
Some of the key benefits of getting paneled include:
- Expand your client base: Becoming an in-network participating provider means more clients will have access to you and your services through coverage in their insurance plans.
- Increase your revenue potential: If you’re on multiple insurance panels, more people will be able to use your services, which translates to more revenue for your practice and a higher therapist salary.
- Improve access to mental health care: Getting on insurance panels means you can make mental healthcare more accessible and affordable for the people who need it most.
- Elevate your professional reputation: By joining reputable insurance networks of mental health professionals, you demonstrate that you meet the high standards set by organizations. Your education, experience, and licensure requirements have all been proven credible and noteworthy.
- Simplify the medical billing processes: Most people agree that dealing with medical bills is confusing and stressful. Becoming part of an insurance panel can simplify the process for you and your clients. It can also streamline administrative tasks associated with claim reimbursements. Ultimately, the process can free up time and resources so you can focus on other aspects of your practice.
“The benefits of getting paneled with insurance include the following: The relationship is just between the client, insurance, and the therapist, so it feels more intimate. The reimbursement rate for therapists is significantly closer to their value. Clients get to align their needs with what they seek in a therapist. It allows for a significantly larger pool of referrals. It places less pressure on clients to pay for the entire service independently. Clients are often paying for insurance even if they aren’t using it, so this allows them to use those funds towards self care.”– Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC
Step-by-Step Process for Getting on Insurance Panels
The process can be overwhelming, but we’re breaking it down into manageable steps to make it approachable and accessible. Follow our simplified steps to navigate the path toward becoming paneled with insurance companies.
#1 Research different insurance companies
Start by identifying which companies you might want to get paneled through. Next, figure out the insurance companies in your area that panel therapists and inquire about their requirements, payment rates, and types of plans they offer. Then, research the panels closely to determine if they fit your needs and practice.
#2 Check your qualifications
Before applying to any panel, ensure you have an active, unrestricted license to practice therapy in your state. You’ll also need to hold professional liability insurance. Finally, ask if enrollment in Medicare or Medicaid is required.
#3 Prepare your documents
You’ll need specific documentation to complete the application process. For example, you will need to submit copies of your current license and liability insurance coverage, a CV or résumé that details your experience in education, a Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) form (if applicable), and references from colleagues or supervisors (if required).
#4 Submit your application
You will have to fill out an application for each insurance company you want to be paneled by. Be careful to fill out applications thoroughly and include all requested documentation. Then, submit your CAQH form online. Submitting accurate information and applications within the specified deadlines will significantly enhance your chances of approval.
#5 Undergo the credentialing review
Each insurance company will have a credentialing committee. They will thoroughly review your submitted application to ensure you meet their standards and requirements. Upon approval, they’ll begin the next step in the process, which includes interviews and potentially some additional paperwork. Be patient during this process, and go into it expecting it to take some time. On average, it can take anywhere from 60-90 days to get credentialed with insurance companies.
#6 Review the terms of your agreement
Once you’ve been accepted into a panel, carefully read through and understand all the details regarding your insurance reimbursement rates, timely filing requirements, and any penalties for noncompliance. Upon acceptance, you can begin to negotiate payment rates with the insurance company.
#7 Maintain your paneling status
Keep your license and liability insurance current and stay informed about any insurance policy changes and requirements. Be sure to submit updates and modifications promptly to ensure continuation of services.
Skip the Hassle by Joining Talkspace’s Network
Figuring out how to get on insurance panels as a therapist can be overwhelming. Not sure you want to go through the hassle? You can skip the headache and join Talkspace’s network. Talkspace is an online therapy platform that offers incredible benefits and helpful tips for new therapists to maximize their success and provide quality care to their clients.
“Credentialing with insurance is quite cumbersome on the front end. It also costs money for someone else to help you. There are many perks that come with making it through the process — but Talkspace credentials all their therapists for them, so the upfront investment isn’t a factor in offering therapy.”– Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC
Enjoy flexibility and an emphasis on work-life balance, gain exposure to a diverse clientele, access cutting-edge technology and tools, and benefit from ongoing support and professional development.
Talkspace therapists get competitive compensation and enjoy the freedom of working as independent contractor therapists with their own clientele. Ditch the overhead costs associated with traditional private practice, forgo the headache of applying to and joining insurance panels, and become a Talkspace therapist today. Learn more about how to work as a therapist in the Talkspace network.
- Breighner N. The doctor is out. NAMI. https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Publications-Reports/Public-Policy-Reports/The-Doctor-is-Out Published September 30, 2021. Accessed April 21, 2023.