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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 


Where do I need to live to be able to access this service?

Currently, our Marriage and Family Therapists are licensed in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, and Internationally. To be eligible for our services, you must live in one of those states, or internationally.

That said, we are a growing company and so we are constantly working to expand our network of qualified therapists to additional states. Please contact Smart Talk's Founder and CEO, Linda Meier-Abdelsayed, for further information at linda@smarttalktherapy.com.


Who do you see?

Since this is a Live Video session mental health service we specialize in high functioning adults. This means that we see people with anxiety, depression, and other life challenges. However, we are unable to see people with suicidal thinking, homicidal thinking, schizophrenia, or personality disorders since those require a higher level of care that we are unable to provide. If you have any questions about whether you qualify for this service please contact Linda at linda@smarttalktherapy.com.


How is my personal information protected?

We are fully HIPAA compliant. We use an encrypted website for our Live Video sessions (called Clocktree) to protect your privacy and confidentiality. Additionally, we use an Electronic Health Records System to make sure that all of your personal information is kept private.


How do I schedule an appointment?

Once you are a member of Smart Talk (i.e. you have completed the initial consent forms and prepaid for sessions) you will be invited by email to join Clocktree. Once you've registered with Clocktree, you'll be able to schedule appointments there.

Smart Talk therapists are highly flexible. Every Sunday they release their weekly availability, allowing clients to reserve appointment times that works with the client's schedules.

Should you wish to schedule appointments more than a week in advance or have reoccurring weekly appointments, then please contact your therapist directly, and they'll happily arrange this for you.


How effective is live video therapy?

Over two decades of research show that online-based therapy is just as effective in improving mental health as traditional face-to-face therapy for adults. Here are a few articles in case you are interested:


How can I get a refund?

Of course we understand that sometimes things change and you might not be able to complete the bundle that you signed up for. Here is our refund policy for each individual plan option:

  • Treat Yourself Package and ESA Package - You are eligible for a full refund if you haven't used a single 30 minute session. After your first session, you are eligible for a refund of all sessions that you have not used at 50% of the original purchase price.
  • Monthly subscription Membership Packages - You can cancel this subscription at any time during the month for the next month. Should you be unavailable for a week,  you are eligible to rebook the appointment for a different week if the therapist has availability. Appointments are made on a first come, first serve basis. If your therapist is off for a week during the month, you will receive a refund for that week's session or be offered a make up appointment during a different week if available.

What is your cancelation policy?

We understand that sometimes things come up and appointments need to be cancelled. We ask that you give us 24 hours notice if you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment so that our therapists have enough time to adjust their schedules accordingly. Should you cancel with less than 24 hours notice you will lose that session credit that you had purchased. We also understand that sometimes 24 hours notice just isn't possible and so each client is awarded a free-be where s/he can cancel with less than 24 hours notice and won't be charged for the session.


Why can't I see or hear my therapist?

There are two major things that could cause this issue.

  1. Internet speed - Your internet connection needs to be fast enough to be able to stream videos online to be able to have a live video session. So, if you are able to watch Netflix or HULU on your phone or computer, then your internet shouldn't be the problem.
  2. Browser - The best browser for you to use for your live video sessions is Google Chrome. Safari and Internet Explorer just don't seem to be as compatible as Chrome with Clocktree.
  3. Volume - Your headphones may have ran out of battery, become unplugged, or have the volume turned down. Please double check that the volume is turned up on whatever device you are using for your live video call. When you login to Clocktree, you are able to run a Volume/Microphone check, this will allow you to ensure that everything is working properly before your session begins.
  4. Camera - Make sure your camera isn't obstructed or dirty. You should also tilt your screen so that your whole face is in frame, so that your therapist can see your facial expressions.

What is your late policy?

Since our sessions are only 30 minutes long we have a 10 minute late policy. This means that our therapists will wait for you for 10 minutes prior to marking you as a no-show in the system. This is why it is very important for you to communicate with your therapist should you be running late so that s/he knows that you are still planning on attending the session.


How should I prepare for my first session?

  1. Make sure you have everything you need:
    1. Fast internet
    2. The Google Chrome web browser
    3. Your Clocktree login and password
    4. Someplace (ideally) quiet, private, and comfortable to take your video call
    5. Access to an outlet and charger, or else a sufficiently charged device
    6. Your driver's license and insurance card (if you are using insurance and you haven't already submitted a photo of these to your therapist for our records)
  2. Optional: check out our blog on how to Maximize Your Therapy Sessions -- specifically the sections on attention, preparation and goal setting.
  3. Pat yourself on the back. You are taking a first step -- on a very valuable journey -- and that's worth recognizing.

How do I know if treatment is "working"?

To track individual progress it's important to set realistic goals, share those goal with your therapist, and then work with your therapist to figure out how you can measure progress towards those goals. We expand on these points in our blog: Maximize Your Therapy Sessions.


Are you and your therapist a good match?

If you don't find yourself holding back on certain topics that are important to your treatment, then you are probably a good match. If you don't feel comfortable talking about sex, for example, but you are seeking treatment because of sex-related issues, then you may not be a good match. This is relative though, talking about deeply personal subjects can often make people feel vulnerable, or uncomfortable at first, but with the right therapist you'll realize your fear of judgement, etc. were uncalled for in this instance.


Do you take insurance?

At this point, all of our therapists (Linda AbdelsayedJ'nay Reckard, and Krista Harper) accept Cigna health insurance, as well as FSA and HSA.

For FSA and HSA we can provide a superbill for reimbursement, or you can pay using your dedicated FSA or HSA debit card.

Linda also take Kaiser Permanente and MHN. 


How do I interpret my health insurance coverage?

There are many different words used to describe insurance benefits. The most important things that you need to know are co-pay (or co-insurance), deductible, and whether you're "in network" or "out of network". The co-pay (or co-insurance) simply refers to how much you have to pay per session and how much the insurance company covers. If you have a deductible (an amount of money that you need to pay prior to the insurance paying anything) then we will let you know. Finally, whether we are in-network or out-of-network, we will bill the insurance company for you. The only difference is whether you need to pay for your services or whether your insurance does. Below is a more detailed explanation of everything. Please feel free to ask your therapist should you have any questions.

Coinsurance: a fixed percentage of the overall cost of each visit that you may be required to pay for (out of pocket) once you have met your deductible. For example, if Cigna covers 80% of each visit, then you will need to cover the other 20%.

Copayments (a.k.a. "copay"): a predetermined rate that you may be required to pay for (out of pocket) once you have met your deductible. For most plans, there is no copayment for covered medical services after you have met your out-of-pocket maximum. For tele-health mental therapy services though, a copayment of $25 per visit is standard.

Deductibles: a fixed amount of money that you have to spend on covered health costs (e.g. therapy sessions, doctor visits, prescription medications, etc.) before your insurance will begin to pay benefits, which resets at the end of every calendar year.

There are two kinds of deductibles: individual and family. Family deductibles exist when you, or your partner, or children, are all covered under one plan. Though the family deductible is larger than the individual deductible (e.g. $6,000 vs $2,000), because every individual contributes towards the family deductible, it's possible to meet your family deductible before your individual deductible. Once either deductible type is met, you and your insurance will split the cost of your qualified medical expenses.

In-Network: If you have Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, or MHN, then we are in-network for you. Though you can choose to opt of using insurance coverage if it will save you money to buy a membership package.

Out-of-Network: If you have Aetna, Anthem, BlueCross, etc., we are out of network for you. This means you will have to pay the full price, out of pocket, for all sessions, until you reach your "Out of Pocket Maximum" if mental health services are covered by your plan.

Out-Of-Pocket Maximum: The maximum amount of money you could spend before your insurance company will start to cover your session for the rest of the calendar year. For example, if your out of pocket max is $2,000, once you have spent that amount on health related costs (.e.g. medication, doctor's visits, etc.) then your insurance company will start to reimburse you for your treatment costs. Generally, anything that contributes towards your deductible will also count towards your out-of-pocket max. Your monthly insurance premium does not contribute towards your out-of-pocket max.

Superbill: This is an itemized form which details services rendered. It is submitted as part of a health care claim for reimbursement for treatment.