The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) is located in Glenside, Pennsylvania and is connected to Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. We were told recently that CCEF is involved in third party (insurance) payments for counseling done under Ed Welch, a licensed psychologist who is the CCEF director of counseling services. We wrote to Welch and asked him if what we heard is true. He wrote back but refused to answer our question. We then faxed him a letter and explained that we wanted to be accurate in what we wrote. To date he has not responded.
We then asked someone in the CCEF area to obtain the information. The individual called and received a letter from CCEF. The following is a quote from the letter, which is apparently sent to anyone who asks:
Does CCEF qualify for insurance payment?
In today’s changing health insurance climate, the answer to this question can change monthly. As a general rule, our counseling services are covered by some but not all insurance plans. Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Employee Assistance Programs, and a number of private insurers have often reimbursed those seeking help at CCEF. HMO’s, however, typically do not use CCEF as a designated provider.
You should check with your own insurance company to see if you should be reimbursed. Be sure to let them know that CCEF counseling is done under the supervision of a licensed psychologist but is not always done by a licensed psychologist.
If you qualify for coverage, we would be glad to do everything possible to help you submit the proper information to your carrier. However, you will be expected to make payment at the time of your session and have your insurance company reimburse you.
We have called several national insurance companies and asked if biblical counseling is covered under any of their plans. In each instance, we were told no. We do not pretend to know what all insurance companies do, but we were told by the insurance companies we called that a diagnosis is required before counseling can begin. The diagnosis is required to be from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM contains a list of mental disorders that are used to psychologically label individuals for psychiatric and psychological treatment.
There is a whole host of questions that individuals should be interested in having answered. And, because CCEF is a Christian nonprofit agency, it should be open to answering. For example, which insurance companies are involved? Do these insurance companies cover biblical counseling? Do the insurance companies involved in reimbursing CCEF clients require a DSM label? Has Welch used the DSM to psychologically label clients in order to qualify for insurance payments? What do the involved insurance companies require of Welch?
Is it not true that CCEF purports to do biblical and not psychological counseling? If so, how do they qualify clients for payments? How much of the $500,000 in counseling fees received annually by CCEF is from insurance payments reimbursed to clients? We ask these questions and raise the issue publicly, because Welch has been unwilling to respond. We would appreciate help in obtaining answers to our questions.