Payment and Finances

Any questions regarding patient accounts, insurance benefit issues, or billing should be sent to:

billing@fitzgeraldcounseling.com.

Insurance and Managed Care Networks for Colleen O’Brien:

Colleen O’Brien is currently pursuing insurance and managed care credentialing. In the meantime, Colleen offers sliding scale fees to clients.

Insurance and Managed Care Networks for Dr. Fitzgerald:

In-Network for the following insurance networks:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO (including Blue Choice/Blue Choice Options))
  • Cigna
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Medicare Part B
  • Multiplan/PHCS (Private Health Care Systems) PPO, and PHCS Savility
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH/Optum network),
  • Value Options

Also In-Network for out-of-state Blue Cross-Blue Shield PPO plans such as Anthem, through reciprocal network participation.

Out of network for BCBS HMO Illinois and Blue Advantage HMO, which exclusively use behavioral health providers affiliated with the physician group you have selected. You must obtain a referral to one of those providers from your primary physician. Second-tier participating provider for some Blue Options plans not labeled “Blue Choice” (considered a regular PPO provider, so out of pocket portion may be higher). Also out of network at this time for Aetna Better Health/Medicaid plans purchased on the Illinois exchange. Please contact a local group that participates in this plan, such as Associates in Behavioral Science in Berwyn.

In-Network for the following Employee Assistance Programs:

  • American Behavioral
  • Cigna EAP
  • Humana LifeSynch EAP (includes the former Harris Rothenberg International)
  • Value Options EAP
  • United Behavioral Health (Optum) EAP
  • Ceridian LifeWorks
  • Military OneSource
  • Magellan EAP
  • E4Health (includes the former Wellness Corporation, Sobel & Raciti, and People Resource EAP/Student Resource Programs)
  • Perspectives
  • Employee Resource Center (Green Bay)

In general, you must obtain a referral from the EAP call center before setting up an appointment with me, in order for services to be authorized. You may choose to use insurance instead, in most cases. However, some health plans require you to call the EAP first in order to have any outpatient mental health or substance abuse services covered. The EAP serves as the behavioral health “gatekeeper” for these plans.

Medicare: Dr. Fitzgerald is now (effective 5/28/2015) approved for Medicare as a Part B provider.

Medicaid: Dr. Fitzgerald is not currently a Medicaid provider for standard medical assistance cards (Illinois Dept. of Human Services). It is suggested that you call Pillars, Metropolitan Family Services, or another community agency that is certified by Medicaid. The managed Medicaid market in Illinois is constantly changing as the provisions of the Affordable Care Act are met with new products resulting from arrangements between the state and insurance companies. Some (like Blue Cross/Blue Shield) will use the existing PPO networks, while some (like Aetna Better Health) are setting up smaller networks, which are more often based out of hospitals and physician groups, and operate more like an HMO using within-group referrals.

Exchanges: Health care plans bought through the exchanges (“Obamacare”) are also changing every year, and finding a provider can be quite confusing right now. I will do my best to find out if I am a covered provider. If you bought insurance through an exchange, you should find out which  behavioral health providers in your area are listed as participating behavioral health providers, before calling anyone.

Fees:

Fees for mental health services can be complex and confusing, and clients are entitled to fair and clearly-stated fees for services. I set my fees to be consistent with prevailing rates for the area, and with allowable rates for services provided through health insurance. Therefore, I am able to bill at my usual and customary rates, rather than artificially high standard rates; and I adjust the balance owed when claims are processed, to reflect the current allowable rates. This also means that I do not “balance bill,” or charge the patient the difference between the usual/ customary and allowable rates. Instead, I write off this difference. Most preferred provider organizations require providers to do this.

Dr. Fitzgerald’s usual and customary fee (as a licensed psychologist) for an initial mental health assessment session is $165.00. A 45 minute therapy session is $110.00, a 60 minute therapy session is $155.00, and a family or couples’ therapy session is $125.00.

The common procedure codes for psychotherapy changed in 2013 so that the traditional 50 minute session was re-defined as 45 minutes. That means that if our sessions last between 38 and  53 minutes, they are to be billed as 45 minute sessions; and if they last between 53 and 60 minutes, they are to be billed as 60 minute sessions, consistent with the guidance provided by the American Psychological Association.

The client’s only responsibility under PPO and managed care plans is for the deductible and co-payment (a fixed amount) or coinsurance (a percentage). These vary by health plan and are either listed as “Specialist” co-payments on your insurance card, or are the same as standard doctor’s office visits.

Other Professional Services:

Psychological testing is billed at a per-hour rate, and includes only face-to-face time (not including scoring or report-writing time). Brief inventories for depression or anxiety, as well as Adlerian Life Style assessments, are generally conducted within a regular 60 minute therapy session, as they constitute part of treatment. Substance abuse assessments may be covered as EAP sessions, may be regular mental health assessments, or may be considered psychological assessments, depending on the reason for the referral. DOT (SAP) substance abuse assessments are a separate process with their own billing. See the “DOT SAP Evaluations” tab for more information.

We provide some services at a reduced fee, for those who have no insurance or who choose not to use health insurance (for reasons of privacy or to avoid session and coverage restrictions). We will be happy to discuss these arrangements prior to the beginning of services.

EAP Services:

Some employers, unions, or benefit plans provide a limited number of counseling sessions (between 1-12 sessions, typically 3-8) at no cost to employees or family members. If sessions are authorized in this manner using your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefit, you are not responsible for any payment. Call your EAP’s toll-free number to arrange services. Some “formal” (job performance) EAP referrals are made through the employer, when there has been a workplace issue or policy violation. For these formal referrals, the employee still does not pay for clinical services. However, the employee will be expected to give written consent for a report of attendance and compliance to be provided to the employer. It is very important for you to obtain the following information and provide it to our office prior to the first EAP session:

  • The name of the organization or vendor providing the EAP program (for example, Ceridian LifeWorks, Aetna, Cigna, or Optum)
  • The start and end dates of the EAP service authorization
  • How many sessions are authorized
  • The authorization number
  • The toll-free number that you called to obtain the referral and authorization
  • A copy of the authorization letter or e-mail message authorizing services.

Please note that any sessions that fall outside of the number or date range of authorized EAP sessions will be your responsibility, unless paid through your regular insurance. For example, if you obtain authorization that does not start until the day after your first session, you may be responsible for payment for that first session.

Claims and Payment

We will submit claims to your insurance company, and ask that you assign benefits to Fitzgerald Counseling when you provide the initial consent for services. We will provide statements of your account at your request, for flexible health spending account or tax purposes. NOTE: If your health spending account is tied to a debit card, you may be able to use it for in-office payments of portions of the charges not covered by insurance. Occasionally, the practice is not recognized as a health care expense by the credit card processor, and you would need to pay using other methods and then submit the charges to your health spending account.

We ask that any client payment amounts (including co payments and coinsurance) be paid at the time of the session. This includes amounts that are applied toward the deductible by the insurance plan, as well as agreed-upon sliding scale fees. Please do not allow unpaid balances to accumulate. We will send statements for amounts due and past due, and may send seriously overdue balances to collections.

Please note that any checks that are returned for insufficient funds may result in your being charged for penalties and fees imposed by the bank, in addition to the fee itself. Any check returned for insufficient funds will result in all of your fees and co-payments being payable in cash only from tbat point forward.

Payment methods accepted at time of counseling / psychotherapy sessions:

  • Cash
  • Personal Check
  • Credit Cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
  • Flexible Health Spending Account cards (Visa or MasterCard)

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Credit card payments at the time of therapy sessions are accepted by means of the Square system (www.squareup.com) and are as secure as industry standards require. Credit card information is encrypted in the card reader prior to transmission. Square prohibits the storage of card numbers, magnetic stripe data, and security codes on client devices.

I am now accepting payments via chip-enabled credit and debit cards via the Square chip card reader. These cards (which are being sent out to cardholders during 2015) are more secure than the older magnetic stripe cards, as they generate a unique token for each transaction. When it becomes available, I will begin using the Square chip and contactless reader, which will enable the use of Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods using cards and smartphones. These payment methods are also heavily encrypted and much more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards. For more information on security please visit the Square website. For more information about EMV (chip) and NFC (contactless) payments via Square, please see their page on the topic.

Square asks for your signature for transactions over $25.00. It also offers you the option to receive a receipt by text message or e-mail. Be aware that these communications are generally regarded as not being HIPAA compliant health communications, but only include the type of payment (co-payment, etc.), the amount, and the name of the payee (Fitzgerald Counseling). The personally identifiable information included in this is roughly equivalent to what would be exposed if you wrote a check. If you have concerns about this from a privacy standpoint, you can ask me for a paper receipt or pay cash.

If you will be paying by credit card or PayPal, you should read and agree to the Consent Form for Electronic Payments, located on the “Forms” page of this website.

Payments may also be made via credit card or PayPal account using the button below. Please send me a message if making a payment for a previous session.

Please note that the fee for DOT Mandated SAP evaluations must be paid in person by cash, money order, or cashier’s check. At this time, I am not accepting personal checks or credit/debit card payments for SAP evaluations.

EXISTING CLIENTS: TO MAKE A PAYMENT…

If you are a current client and wish to make a payment or co-payment for session(s) that have already taken place, you may use the new “PayPal.Me” feature to make a payment, or use the PayPal button below. Please also send an e-mail message at billing@fitzgeraldcounseling.com, to let us know of your payment and if possible the date(s) of service to which the payment is to be applied. Thank you! We appreciate your use of our services.

Direct Payment Link:

www.paypal.me/fitzgeraldcounseling

Or, you can use the PayPal button below:

Payment

Note: By using this PayPal link or button, you will be taken to the PayPal secure website, where you can use an existing PayPal account to make a payment, or you can create a new account using a credit card. Fitzgerald Counseling will not store any of your credit card information. If you have PayPal set up to e-mail you confirmation of a payment, you understand and accept that these e-mails are not guaranteed to be confidential, nor are they HIPAA protected.