Fees and Insurance

Fee for a 50-minute individual therapy session:

  • Before 5:00pm: $160 for per session.
  • After 5:00pm and Saturdays: $180 per session.

Fee for a 75-minute couple or relationship therapy session: 

  • Before 5:00pm: $240 for each 75-minute session.
  • After 5:00pm and Saturdays:  $270 for each 75-minute session. 
  • After couples have “de-escalated”  sessions may be shortened to 50″ and charged the 50-minute rate.

At the start of the each calendar year rates are reviewed and usually adjusted somewhat upwards, so over time hour rate may increase.

Your Health Insurance & Psychotherapy

The best way to find our what your insurance will pay for mental health services is for YOU to call the number on the back of your insurance card.  They will not tell us, because that would be breaching your confidentiality. Tell them the following:

  • That you want individual, couples therapy, or both.
  • That Dr. McConnell is a psychologist, licensed in California.
  • That the zip code for Dr. McConnell’s office is 92103.  They may pay different amounts in different zip codes.
We will bill your health insurance, on our behalf…   but…   
  • We collect payment directly from you, bill your insurance for you, and they send payment directly to you.
  • We collect payment at each session.  Visa on-file is easiest. Check or cash works.   On your behalf, our billing program can send an electronic invoice  to your insurance company. A copy will be sent to you.  We do this the second week of each month for the prior 4 weeks.   They will make their check out to you, not Dr. McConnell. 
  • Your insurance is a contract between you and the company.  Dr. McConnell has no contracts with any insurance companies.  We accept no liability for mis-communication with your insurance carrier.  You are responsible to review what we send your insurance company to make sure it is correct. If the insurance company does not pay because of errors in how the forms are prepared and submitted, you are still responsible for paying the full fee.
  • We do not have any contract with any insurance company. We are not members of any insurance network.
  • If you have an HMO your insurance will not pay for our services.
  • If you have a PPO your insurance will likely pay less for our services than for the same services from it’s “preferred providers.”
  • Your insurance company may or may not pay you back for what you have paid Dr. McConnell

To find a psychologist who is in your insurance plan’s HMO or PPO:

Late-Cancellation/No-Show Policy

You will be charged the full cost of sessions which you do not cancel at least 24 hours in advance.

Exceptions are made in cases of extreme emergency (flight cancellations, hospitalization, etc.)

If The Fee is Too Expensive

If the fee is too expensive then let’s discuss this over the phone before the first session.

Several options may be available, including: fewer sessions per month; shorter sessions; group sessions, a reduced fee (rarely), or referral to another practitioner.

If a reduced fee is agreed upon, it will be adjusted upwards if your financial situation improves.

Good sources for providers with lower fees are Psychology Today and the San Diego Psychological Association.

Group Therapy Fees

Fee for Group Therapy when I’m running a group – which I’m not at the moment:

  • $40 per person for 90″ of  group.
  • $150 for the individual evaluation session required prior to joining the group.

Why We Don’t Collect Directly from  Insurance Companies (“accept assignment”)

  • Insurance companies often set a “usual and customary fee” based on the average fee therapists charge in a given zip code. Their “usual and customary fee” is likely less than the rate of most senior clinicians, including Dr. McConnell.  For example they may  pay 60% of what they consider a “usual and customary fee” of $120.00.  This would amount to insurance covering $72/session.  Rates for senior clinicians in San Diego range from $160 to $250 per session.
  • It is a time-consuming hassle.
  • Each insurance plan pays a different amount for mental health services, with a different deductible.
  • It is often difficult to figure out what they pay for what service until the check arrives.
  • Sometimes insurance companies have hidden clauses, are unclear in what they say,  or there may be honest mistakes in communication.
  • Sometimes there is a post-treatment review and a “claw back” of payments made if the company disagrees with the treatment or how it was billed.
  • They will sometimes deny payment for reasons that are difficult to predict.
  • Expectations set by insurance companies may be unrealistic.  For example, when an insurance company tells a client “we only cover this condition for 12 sessions” it may give the impression that the condition “should be fixed” in 12 sessions.
  • When the insurance company limits the number of sessions,  the therapist may still be required to continue to see the client at the rates set by the company.
  • Some insurance policies require the therapist to submit treatment plans or progress notes before they will authorize or pay for services.  This is time consuming, and the review is often made by a clinician with less experience than Dr. McConnell (which is often why they work for insurance companies instead of in private practice).  We do not submit treatment plans nor progress reports to insurance companies.
  • Insurance companies make a deal with therapists that if they provide clients to the therapist then the therapist will accept a lower rate than their standard fee.  The difference is the company’s profit and management expenses.
  • Dr. McConnell has a full practice without insurance.