Can a Pastoral Counselor Get On Insurance Panels?

I received a call from you guys but I missed it—but I had a question. I am a pastoral counselor in Phoenix, Arizona. According to Arizona law, I don’t have to be licensed as long as I stay within my field, don’t prescribe medicine, diagnose mental illness, etc. I’m a part of a counseling agency in Phoenix. I get asked if I accept insurance all the time. Is it possible for me to be credentialed if I’m not licensed by the state? I have a Master’s degree in theology and primarily practice from the spiritual-theological angle. Any help or answers would be appreciated.

In more than 90% of cases the answer is no–you are not eligible to get on insurance panels. In order to be credentialed with insurance companies, one typically needs to be fully licensed in the state in which they practice. For behavioral health (counseling), this typically means being fully licensed as an LPC, LMHC or LCPC; LCSW or LICSW; or being a Licensed Psychologist.

Insurance exists to cover medical conditions. Since pastoral counseling doesn’t treat medical conditions, by its very nature it’s typically not compatible with insurance.

That said, I do know of some incidents, in some areas, where a highly-published pastoral counselor was able to get coverage for his services on a case by case basis. These situations are very rare, however.

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