Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover therapy?
Yes, nearly all Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover therapy for mental and behavioral health conditions. However, the extent of coverage depends on your particular plan.
How much your particular plan covers depends on several factors, like if you have/have met a deductible, and whether the service is in-network or out-of-network.
How much does therapy cost with a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan?
The cost of sessions depends on A) your plan’s coverage, and B) whether you’re seeing a therapist who’s in or out-of-network.
A) Your plan’s coverage
There are two key two terms that determine your payment amount per therapy session.
- Deductible — The sum total of medical costs you need to pay each year before your insurance coverage begins. (All your medical costs contribute to this, not just therapy costs.)
- Copay — The set fee you pay at every therapy session, after your deductible is met. This typically ranges from $15 to $50 per session.
B) In-network vs. out-of-network
In-network: If your therapist is in-network, you will have to pay a copay and/or deductible (see section A). The final cost depends on your specific plan.
- Find out how much each session will cost by looking at your summary of benefits or contacting your health insurance provider directly.
Out-of-network: If you are seeing a therapist out-of-network, then you will have to pay the whole fee the therapist charges up front (or the sliding scale rate, if that is what you have both agreed upon).
- You may be able to get reimbursed a portion of out-of-network costs by using out-of-network benefits.
What types of therapy does Blue CrossBlue Shield cover?
The modalities that Blue Cross Blue Shield covers may include:
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Psychoanalytic Therapy
- Interpersonal Therapy
- Supportive Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Solution Focused Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Play Therapy for children
A therapist may use different types of therapy approaches in your sessions.
What kinds of therapy does Blue Cross Blue Shield not cover?
Like most insurances, it is not typical for Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover the following:
- Couples counseling (see below for more info + ways to pay for couples counseling)
- Life coaching
- Career coaching
- Therapy sessions occurring outside the therapy office
What conditions does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover?
Mental health conditions Blue Cross Blue Shield covers may include:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder
- Substance use disorder
Note that therapists are required to assign you a diagnosis for the above conditions, as well as share the diagnosis with your health insurance, if you are using benefits to pay for therapy.
If you don’t want your insurance company (or family members, if you have a shared plan) to have access to this information about your mental health, consider out-of-network options instead.
Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover online therapy?
Yes, certain Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans cover online therapy.
For example, many Blue Cross Blue Shield chapters have partnerships with online networks (such as Live Health Online).
You can go through those directories, or ask member services whether online sessions with your therapist of choice are covered.
Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover couples counseling?
No. While it depends on your specific plan, it is unlikely that Blue Cross Blue Shield will cover couples counseling.
That said, even if your insurance doesn't directly cover it, you still have options for getting affordable couples counseling. Here are five ways to pay for couples counseling if it’s not included in your health insurance plan.
Do I need to see my doctor before visiting a Blue Cross Blue Shield therapist?
Whether you need to get a referral for a therapist from your primary care physician depends on what type of plan you have. Generally speaking, here’s what’s required per plan type:
- HMO: Yes, you are typically required to see your primary care physician for a referral to therapy before your insurance company will provide outpatient coverage.
- POS: Yes, you will likely need to see a primary care physician for a referral to outpatient therapy.
- PPO: No, you typically don’t need to see your primary care physician for a referral before accessing outpatient mental health services.
- EPO: No, you typically don’t need to see your primary care physician for a referral before accessing outpatient mental health services.
If you do not get a referral, you may want to call your member services number directly to check whether pre-authorization is required for coverage.
How can I find therapists who accept Blue Cross Blue Shield?
If you are outside these regions, you can use Blue Cross Blue Shield’s search function to find a therapist in your area who takes your insurance.
You can also check the list of therapists who have been recommended to us, or ask your primary care physician for their recommendation.
Find Blue Cross Blue Shield therapists near you
Find Blue Cross Blue Shield therapists on Zencare, below.
Search by filters like location, availability, and specialties; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you!