How to talk about money with clients

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counseling money talk

counseling money talk

How to talk about money with clients

I recently was emailed a question, “I do have one question for you that has nothing to do with the website:  When you get calls/referrals and the conversation goes to payment/insurance,  what is the “magic” response from you that gets the client (without insurance).  I feel like I am losing the client before I can explain why I don’t take insurance.”

You can leave me a voicemail at:

If people ask right away, “Do you take X insurance” I usually say, “No, but let’s still talk and see if there may be another funding option.” But here is my usual flow.

Don’t jump into talking about money right away

I wait to tell people about the insurance until after we have talked a bit and I’ve learned about them. One rule of marketing/sales is to learn what the person wants to buy and sell them that. For example if someone has a kid on the autism spectrum, I would focus on my background in teaching social skills. Think about it, if Apple said, “We have a computer that is 2-3x more expensive than our competitors, but trust us you’ll love it” no one would buy it, but people fall in love first and then buy the ring.

Be available for the counseling session

Find a time that works within a day or two for the intake, that way you’ve experienced a commitment and they are more likely to follow through.

Explain Counseling Insurance 

This is how I talk about insurance or something similar, it changes each time a bit:

“I always let people know that if they are going to be using their insurance, that you’ll want to coordinate your out of network benefits with them. I don’t directly bill insurance, so you’ll pay at each session, then get a receipt, and submit it for possible reimbursement. Also, you can always access HSA or FSA money for it too. I just want to make sure you work with your insurance.”

Send a follow-up email

I say, “Can I email you the intake paperwork and directions to the office?” I then send them this email a PDF of the intake:

Subject: Intake Form and Office Location

Dear K.,

Attached is the intake form for your meeting with ____. I have included her in this email so that you can schedule with her. Our address is 500 S. Union St. Suite 4, TC, MI 49684. The sign on the door actually says, “Associates in Clinical Practice” since someone else rents the back office. Here is the link with the Google Map:

Attached you will find the intake paperwork. As we discussed over the phone, _____ rate is $120 for the intake and sessions. As a reminder, we do not directly bill insurance so we always recommend that you check with your insurance. Tarah will provide you with a receipt so if you have a HSA or FSA for reimbursement. We accept cash, check, or credit card at the end of each session.

If you have ANY questions before your session, please do not hesitate to email _____. We’re so glad that we can help you! Thanks!


Spell it out on the intake

On my intake I have:
“I understand that Sanok Counseling PLLC/Mental Wellness Counseling does not accept insurance. I will be given a receipt that I may submit to my insurance for possible reimbursement. As well, I understand that if I cancel within 24 hours or do not show up for an appointment I will be billed the entire amount of the session. I have been given the opportunity to ask questions regarding this statement.”

Then they sign right below it. Here’s a link to my paperwork packet.

Does that help? How would you have answered this question? Will you let me know via voicemail?

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Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a licensed counselor and owner of Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI. Email me, I’d love to talk [email protected]

To link to Joe’s Google+ follow the link.