If you’ve decided to start the search for a mental health professional, like a psychiatrist, congratulations! It can be hard to take that first step and you may even feel a little overwhelmed as you navigate the options your health insurance provides.
In this article we’ll walk you through finding a Blue Cross Blue Shield Psychiatrist. You’ll learn about coverage, in-network options, and expert tips to support your mental health care journey.
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is one of the largest health insurance companies in the US. They provide coverage for one in three Americans and offer many different kinds of health plans like employer plans, individual plans, Medicaid, and Medicare.
In general, most BCBS plans cover some level of mental health, behavioral health, and therapy services. A law passed in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act requires certain health plans to cover mental health services and substance use disorder treatment in the same way that they cover physical health conditions.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean all mental health care services are covered equally. The types of services that are covered, the conditions under which they are covered, and at what cost to you will depend on the details of your specific plan.
It’s always best to reach out to your insurance provider directly to find out information on your specific benefits. You will want to ask about the specific services covered for inpatient (virtual or in-person) or outpatient care (depending on your needs) as well as the copay and coinsurance amounts that will apply for either in-network or out-of-network services.
Sure, there’s no shortage of roadblocks when it comes to finding a psychiatrist that meets your needs and takes your insurance. But here’s some good news: healthcare providers are constantly growing and changing their networks, meaning even if a doctor or mental health practice doesn’t accept your insurance now, there is always the chance they will add your plan to their network in the future.
This also means that the lists of in-network psychiatrists provided by your insurance company may be outdated. While this is still a good place to start your search, always contact the doctor’s office or provider directly to find out if they accept your insurance plan. You can also search for a psychiatrist through websites like ZocDoc.com or PsychologyToday.com. While they often list the health plans they accept on their profile, you may also want to contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.
Here are some tips to help you find a Blue Cross Blue Shield psychiatrist who is in-network with your specific plan.
Use online directories
As mentioned above, websites like ZocDoc.com and PsychologyToday.com are helpful places to search for an in-network psychiatrist. You can filter your search based on your insurance plan or other preferences, but keep in mind this information may not be up to date so always double-check by contacting the doctor’s office.
Contact Blue Cross Blue Shield
BCBS will be able to provide a list of in-network psychiatrists for your specific health plan. You can often access this list right from their website. This list may be outdated, so always verify with the doctor’s office beforehand.
If your need for long-term specialized care is urgent and you are having trouble finding an in-network psychiatrist with availability, your insurance company may be able to offer you case management services. Case managers may have access to internal resources and can help you coordinate or fill any gaps in your care. Most often, case management services are offered to people with multiple health conditions.
Find a psychiatrist with Talkiatry
We are a virtual psychiatry practice of over 300+ psychiatrists. All our psychiatrists take insurance, and we are in-network with 60+ major insurance plans, including BCBS. We make finding a psychiatrist easy. Just take our 10-minute online assessment to see if Talkiatry is right for you and get matched with a psychiatrist who takes your insurance and meets your needs.
You can also check whether or not we accept your insurance using our insurance eligibility checker.
Ask for recommendations
Whether you are being referred to a psychiatrist by another provider or have made the decision on your own, your primary care doctor or another healthcare provider may be able to provide recommendations for psychiatrists. Many hospital systems, doctor’s offices, and therapy clinics have psychiatrists they work with internally. They may not necessarily take your insurance plan, so be sure to call ahead to verify your coverage.
Finding a psychiatrist that’s a good fit for your needs is important so don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ if you have that luxury. Psychiatrists can often have different styles, for example, some may take a more straightforward approach and others might spend more time just listening. What’s important is that you feel comfortable and respected during your sessions. This will help you get the most out of treatment.
Here are a few things to look for when researching a psychiatrist that’s right for you.
Specialties: If you already have a good idea of what you need help with, you can search for a psychiatrist with a specific specialty or work experience. For example, some psychiatrists specialize in working with LGBTQIA+ people or veterans, or they may specialize in specific conditions or niches like health anxiety, postpartum depression, or PTSD. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are also highly specialized, though most child and adolescent psychiatrists also practice adult psychiatry.
Approach to treatment: If you’ve worked with a psychiatrist or another mental health provider in the past, you may already have a preference for a certain treatment approach or you may not know what you like. Either way, that’s okay! Treatment approaches include different types of evidence-based therapies or treatment modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or a holistic approach. Even if you are seeing a psychiatrist for medication management, they may still use different types of supportive therapy throughout your sessions.
Experience: More experience doesn’t necessarily make a psychiatrist better suited to provide care, but you may find you prefer the style of an experienced psychiatrist over a less experienced one, or vice versa. You may feel quick to dismiss a less experienced psychiatrist but keep in mind-- newer psychiatrists also have a breadth of knowledge and expertise and have experience seeing patients throughout their residency or specialized training programs.
Reviews and ratings: Reviews can give you a good sense of whether or not a psychiatrist may be a good fit for you. Do they have a particular type of style that fits what you’re looking for? Is this someone you can see yourself opening up to? Keep in mind everyone has different preferences when it comes to personality traits and styles, so one person’s negative review might be another person’s positive review.
In-network status: If you plan to use your insurance to pay for care, you’ll want to make sure you find a provider who is in-network with your health plan. There are many sites where you can filter psychiatrists by the type of health insurance they accept.
Talkiatry makes it easy to find an in-network psychiatrist. We are in-network with over 60 major health plans, including several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. You can check your eligibility using our insurance elligibility checker.
Looking for more guidance on finding a psychiatrist that’s right for you? Check out: How to Find the Best Psychiatrist for You
Depending on your health plan, you may be covered for in-network services only, or you may also have some coverage for out-of-network services. You’ll want to first check to see if your plan is an HMO or a PPO.
HMO plans don’t offer coverage for care from out-of-network healthcare providers (unless it is a true medical emergency) while PPO plans offer some coverage. It’s important to check the details of your plan though, if you have a PPO, you may have a separate deductible (the amount you pay each year before your insurance covers the cost of your care) or higher copays (a set fee you pay for a doctors appointment or prescription) for out-of-network providers.
If you have a PPO and are seeing an out-of-network provider, you will likely have to pay for the doctor’s services directly and then file a claim to get reimbursed. This is different than when you see an in-network doctor as your insurance is likely to be billed directly, leaving you only responsible for copays at the time of your visit.
The cost of psychiatric services will ultimately depend on your insurance plan, the type of service (in-patient vs. outpatient or an evaluation vs. a follow-up for example), and rates that your psychiatrist charges.
Additionally, if you are seeing a psychiatrist but haven’t hit your deductible yet, you may be paying more per session than someone who has hit their deductible. Your mental well-being has a big impact on your quality of life. If mental health care is something you plan to use or think you may benefit from, be sure to keep this in mind when enrolling in a health plan. Choosing the appropriate health plan can help make the cost of psychiatry more affordable.
In general, most BCBS plans cover some level of mental health, behavioral health, and therapy services but, that doesn’t necessarily mean all mental health care services are covered equally. It’s always best to contact your insurance plan directly and ask for clarification on the details of your plan and coverage. When searching for a psychiatrist, check online directors like zocdoc.com or psychologytoday.com or your health plan’s website, or you can ask your primary care doctor for referrals or utilize your health plan’s case management resources.
What is the medical specialty of a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating mental health conditions. Think of psychiatrists as doctors for your mind. They are experts in diagnosing and treating complex mental health conditions through medication management.
Psychiatrists treat mental health conditions such as:
What is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist?
Clinical psychiatrists or psychiatrists are highly-trained medical doctors who are experts in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions by offering necessary evaluations, prescribing medication, and providing therapy.
Clinical psychologists, on the other hand, are not medical doctors but mental health professionals who focus on treating mental health conditions through counseling and behavioral guidance (talk therapy).
Both psychiatrists and psychologists can be part of an effective treatment plan, working together to provide holistic care and support.
What is the difference between a therapist and psychiatrist?
The term “therapist” can apply to a range of professionals including social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychoanalysts. Working with a therapist generally involves regular talk therapy sessions where you discuss your feelings, problem-solving strategies, and coping mechanisms to help with your condition.
Psychiatrists are doctors who have specialized training in diagnosing and treating complex mental health conditions through medication management. If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or similar, a psychiatrist may be a good place to start. Other signs that you should see a psychiatrist include:
Telehealth vs. In-person services
In most cases, virtual care can be just as effective as in-person care. As convenient and effective as virtual care is, there are some cases in which it may not be the right fit. Our goal at Talkiatry is to help you find the best treatment for your needs, so your psychiatrist may recommend other treatment options if virtual care is not the right fit. Our 10-minute online assessment will also help you determine whether or not Talkiatry is the right fit for your care.
What kind of treatment do psychiatrists provide?
Psychiatrists specialize in treating mental health conditions through medication management but they will also use supportive therapy throughout your sessions. Some psychiatrists will also offer stand-alone talk therapy sessions.
At Talkiatry, our psychiatrists offer medication management with support therapy throughout sessions. If talk therapy is something that you and your psychiatrist think you will benefit from, we can provide you with a referral to a therapist within or outside of Talkiatry.
Talkiatry is a national psychiatry practice that provides in-network, virtual care. Co-founded by a patient and a triple-board-certified psychiatrist, Talkiatry has over 300 doctors, 60 insurance partners, and first visits available in days. We treat patients with anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, and more. Get started with a short online assessment.
The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and should never be substituted for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. If you or someone you know may be in danger, call 911 or the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 right away.
Dr. Nidhi Sharoha is a double board certified psychiatrist in Psychiatry and Consultation Liaison Psychiatry. She completed her undergraduate training at Stony Brook University followed by medical school at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has completed both a Residency in Psychiatry and Fellowship in Consultation Liaison Psychiatry at Nassau University Medical Center.
Dr. Sharoha has held academic appointment at Stony Brook University Hospital, practicing as a consultant psychiatrist as well as the Associate Director of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship Program. She has been deeply involved in teaching throughout her years
She has a genuine interest in treating a vast array of psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, post traumatic stress disorders and obsessive compulsive and related disorders. She also has experience in treating patients with medical comorbidities and has training in issues related to women’s health.
Patients looking for a psychiatric provider will find that Dr. Sharoha has a gentle approach to diagnosis and management of her patients. She believes in the principle that body and mind are interconnected which allows her to provide comprehensive care to all of her patients.