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Insurance system fails local therapists

I am writing in response to the recent article, “Pitkin County’s bleak mental health survey points to flawed system,” and I would agree with Commissioner Greg Poschman when he said, “Insurance companies aren’t working. It seems our insurance companies are failing us.”

As a licensed professional counselor, I stopped accepting insurance for the same reasons listed in the piece: the overwhelming paperwork, the inadequate reimbursement rates, the prohibitively long lag time for receiving payments and frustratingly high number of claims that are rejected for incorrect codes, misspellings and other absurd reasons. I also stopped providing services for Triad, the local employee assistance program because, after over eight years of providing mental health counseling (that employees of participating companies receive for free), they never once raised the very reduced reimbursement that they provided me with. There are other programs that subsidize mental health services, such as the Aspen Community Foundation, but like Triad, the reimbursement rates are prohibitively low for the local therapists dealing with the exorbitant cost of living in the valley.

I believe there needs to be a complete overhaul in the process by which people access mental health care through their insurance companies, and there needs to be an significant increase in local funding for organizations like Triad and ACF so they can pay therapists what they are worth.



Jeff Cole

Aspen