Urban Balance, an insurance-friendly counseling practice with six locations in Chicagoland, is thrilled to be celebrating its 10th anniversary this February. Founded in 2004, Urban Balance began with just two therapists working from what is now its downtown headquarters at 180 North Michigan Avenue. Today, UB is now a team of over 60 psychotherapists providing services to adults, children, couples and families at its loop office and satellite locations in River West, Ravenswood, Evanston, Northbrook, and Highland Park. UB therapists have a wide range of specialties including stress, depression, anxiety, grief, career, and relationship issues.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” says UB’s founder and CEO, Joyce Marter, LCPC. “We’ve experienced growing pains and challenges like all businesses do. However, I am proud that UB’s innovative business model has helped it become a leading practice and am eternally grateful to all the staff, consultants and clients for whom I owe UB’s success. UB is devoted to the destigmatization of the mental health issues that perhaps we all experience at different points in life, and the normalization of seeking counseling as a routine and preventative part of wellness.”
Urban Balance’s mission is to provide high-quality counseling services to all who can benefit from it, in a way that is both affordable and accessible. Unlike most counseling practices, UB has always agreed to be an in-network provider with each and every insurance company possible. While this means a lower rate collected per session, UB has found this difference is made up in volume, as UB consistently has more than 70 new referrals per week. Marter adds with the Mental Health Parity Act, mental health services are covered with the same benefits as other medical services. This allows clients to attend therapy for a copayment that is a fraction of what they would pay out of pocket to a therapist who does not accept insurance.
“We are service-oriented and handle all clients’ insurance issues for them. We check benefits and submit claims and resolve any insurance issues, rather than many therapists who do not work with insurance or simply hand their clients a receipt to file themselves.” Marter says. “In today’s constantly changing healthcare environment, we invest time and money to make sure all clients can maximize their coverage.” Additionally, Marter says UB provides services at a sliding fee for those who do not have coverage, with licensed therapists at a rate as low as $60 and clinical interns at a rate as $25 per session.
Marter, who currently serves as the President of the Board of the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA), is an advocate for the development of professional counselors and the services they provide. As a woman-owned business, UB has been certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Marter enjoys collaboration with other entrepreneurs in the industry of health and wellness to bring the best of services to clients.
2013 was a very busy year for Urban Balance, with 2 new offices opened in the River West neighborhood of Chicago and Northbrook, and over 25 new therapists hired. What do 2014 and beyond hold in store for UB? Marter says the Ravenswood office is expanding next month and UB has several new initiatives in the works to build upon its decade long success.
“UB has always been focused on creating work/life balance for professionals seeking to attain their personal and professional goals,” she says. “We believe there is a real need for new ideas when it comes to supporting employers and helping their staff achieve wellness at work. We’ve enjoyed providing business talks, workplace wellness seminars, oganizational consulting, and coaching from a wellness perspective. As both a therapist and an entrepreneur who was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business in their “40 Under 40” List of 2010, Marter hopes to expand UB’s wellness services to more business and professional organizations in the years ahead.