This is the second of a 3-part series to help ease your way to getting approved as a preferred provider with insurance companies. The series began here.
Managed care companies receive hundreds of applications from licensed mental health professionals every year who are wanting to become preferred providers. That’s why it’s important to make your application stand out in a positive way to the professionals in Provider Relations that will be evaluating your credentials and experience. Here’s a few tips that I’ve learned over the years that may help you rise to the top of the pile.
Tip #1 – Focus on your own efficiency and your ability to save on costs. Managed care came into existence as a reaction to offset the rampant financial abuses in health care. As such, the primary goal of these companies is to reduce costs of health care. The care of clients comes second. Make sure that your application speaks to managed care’s concerns and not just your own.
Tip #2 – Location makes a difference. (And, not just for the reasons I stated here.) If you can provide services in an under-served area, you are more likely to be admitted to a preferred provider list. If you currently provide services in a therapist-saturated market, you may want to consider adding a second site to your practice. By indicating that you are available to provide services in an under-served area for just a few hours each week, you make yourself much more desirable to managed care companies. (And, the good news is that once your are “in” on the panel, you can typically relocate your services without losing your place on the provider lists – even across state lines!)
Tip #3 – Highlight second languages that you are fluent in. Your unique expertise is what will get you on the list so don’t forget to highlight an ability to speak a foreign language every chance you get.
Tip #4 – Special hours can set your practice apart. Most therapists work 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you can offer late or early hours or are willing to work on weekends, mention them on your application. Those “special” hours can be a way to expedite your entrance into the world of preferred providers.
Tip #5 – Special populations require special knowledge. Don’t indicate that you “work with everybody.” That’s not what managed care is looking for. Instead, if you have advanced training and experience working with a specific population or two, emphasize this. Populations such as geriatrics, children, GLBT, deaf clients, etc. can open doors for you with managed care.
Tip #6 – Advanced training and credentials count. Although experience definitely counts, proof of skills via advanced training and credentialing make you much less of a risk to insurance companies and much more desirable to them, too. Track your professional development and flaunt it in your application.
Do you have other tips that can help other licensed mental health professionals get on insurance panels? If so, I hope you will leave them below.
And, on Monday, I’ll wrap up this series by sharing a couple of thoughts for those who have had their applications denied.