How to drop an insurance panel

You have decided to get off insurance panels. The cost of either time, effort or both has outweighed any benefit. So let’s talk about how to drop insurance panels in a way that eases you into a full cash pay practice.

Mindset. We always start here. Write down your “why” of getting of insurance panels. Put it somewhere you can see it when you are working through this stuff. Write down the fears or thoughts you have about getting off of those panels. Really understand if those are valid fears and where you have evidence for these fears.

For example, I got of the phone recently with a therapist who was convinced she would lose every client. There was no evidence of this. She had never heard stories of people she knew that had to close their doors after getting off of panels. Guess what happened? She only ended up terminating with one client who was going to terminate anyhow.

This is how people end up on insurance panels in the first place. They often do it out of fear not out of a sound business plan. That will be you no longer. Work through the head trash, because it will come up from time to time and you want to be ready with affirmations and truth about the decisions you are making.

Evaluate. Look at all the panels you are on and make a spreadsheet the following:  

  • How difficult it has been to work with the insurance company
  • The average reimbursement rate
  • The number of clients you have on the panel
  • The terms of the contract regarding termination and how long does it take to get off of the panel

Now you have a list by which to weight the value of the panel. You can get rid of the most difficult panel first or the lowest reimbursing panel. Or, you might want to terminate with the easiest contract terms just so you can ease into the process.

Process. Put a process in place even before you drop your first panel. Evaluate the order in which you will terminate. Draft a letter to give to your clients. Allow time for process and termination, referral in case it is needed. Often we project our insecurities, fantasizing about the rage of our client for us no longer accepting their insurance. See this as an opportunity for their process as well. This can be empowering for a client to choose to stay with you or to work out their disappointments with you. 

Get started. With all of your planning and thinking about it, now is the time to take action and notify the first panel and the clients.  Be sure your information is updated in your marketing.

If you get a referral during your termination period with an insurance company you have a couple of options. You can choose to refer the person out or you can accept them and let them know the period in which insurance will cover and the plan for payment post termination with the insurance company. This way the client is fully aware of what they are agreeing to and can make an informed decision.

Get ready to be surprised. Clients may still want to work with you even though you are getting off of panels. Have you gotten off insurance panels? What was your experience? Share below.

Not sure what your fee should be after terminating insurance? Check out this training on fee setting.