How do people currently find a good therapist in NYC in-network?
August 27, 2021 6:53 AM   Subscribe

I promise I've read through past questions on finding a therapist in-network BSBS Ill PPO but I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing, just not trying hard enough, or that's just how it is? Been trying for a week, read through hundreds of listings reached out to 10 offices/therapists and got all "no new patients" or no response. Am I missing something or I need to bite the bullet and go out of network?

I'm a working professional, had therapy as a young adult and only sporadically over the years. I'd like to start a proper outpatient therapy regimen now, pretty typical concerns depression, esteem, anxiety, intimacy, family.

I have pretty good BCBS Ill insurance and looked at for sure 100+ entries and reached out to ~10 and they've either been totally full or not responsive. I am looking for certain things, prefer an older woman (I'm gay I just find it more comfortable) with someone as GLBT-supportive and bonus would be focus on the above in CBT/ACT frameworks.

• Use my insurance provider portal I get either hundreds or when I try to narrow by pretty regular criteria (located downtown, focus on depression, etc) it gets too narrow.

• Used ZocDoc but seems to show no results for my insurance BCBS

• Used Psychology Today and seeing either super broad or super narrow.

I think there's some internalized resistance and focus issues so it's a been a challenge to go through finding and reaching out should keep trying? Or do I just bite the bullet and go out-of-network? The cost I'm seeing out-of-network NYC is nominally $200 a session so $400-800 a month is plausible but noticeable cost to me (how does everyone support that??)
posted by artificialard to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When you're looking up Zocdoc, use "Empire" (The NY BCBS). Should take BCBSIL, signed someone who used BCBSIL for 4 years to get therapists in NYC.
posted by sandmanwv at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The problem with therapy right now is that roughly everyone needs therapy after 2020. Demand exceeds supply. Most therapists have more patients than they can handle, which is why nobody is taking new patients.

When I started with my current therapist last summer, she was the fourth office I reached out to, and I live in a smallish town with only 90,000 people. So yeah, to some extent it's a numbers game.

$200/session seems like a reasonable amount. I paid $137/session out of pocket until I reached my deductible (which is really high), and I'm in a lower-COL area. It strained the budget, but it's something I needed. That's an amount for me that I could find by shifting the budget a bit. $400/month is a lot easier to find than $800/month, though. In-network is definitely better than either, if you have the patience to keep trying.

If you find someone you seem to like, but they aren't accepting new patients, ask if there's a waitlist.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:14 AM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hi, as another NYer with BCBS, yes, it's basically impossible and has been for years (even before Covid). I've found 2 or 3 therapists who'll actually take me on, and they haven't been a great fit, and alternatives are extremely limited. I have not had the means to pay out of pocket, so I generally have gone without. Every 6 months or so I'll try again, but with frustratingly no results.

Good luck!
posted by greta simone at 7:27 AM on August 27, 2021

Best answer: I just found a new therapist this week but with different parameters (San Diego / Cigna PPO) and used Psychology Today and Zencare as my sources and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of responses i got as i was expecting many more rejections. I think my filter criteria is less stringent than yours, but that's a tradeoff on finding a therapist quicker vs one that might be a better fit on paper. I've done therapy enough to feel that profiles aren't often indicative of how the relationship/tone will be in the end anyway. So i blasted some emails with a short synopsis of my problems & therapist goals, available times and insurance info, tracked it all in a spreadsheet and got pretty good response. For the ones that i didn't setup an appointment list i have their info / profile / insurance dialed in so i can go to them if the first one doesn't work out for whatever reason.

If you are okay with telehealth that opens up the critera more too, on psychologytoday i searched for telehealth in san diego because i assume right now most folks are meeting virtually and could eventually transition to in-person if necessary. I'm not sure if that works for you too.

In short: try zencare too. Also a question on whether you are pre-filtering out folks that might be a good fit. Most will have a free consultation with you where you can get a feel for them if you've got reservations.

You got this. If you want someone to sit down with you for an hour or whatever to help with inertia, message me.
posted by escher at 8:44 AM on August 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

The reimbursement for therapists on insurance panels is pitifully small. We're talking $50, $60 for a 45-50 min session when the market rates in NYC and similar cities are closer to at least $175+. Sure insurance covers therapy, but in a way that feels similar to a crappy credit card with ancillary "benefits" that are designed to be difficult/not worth it to use. It's criminal.
posted by flamk at 8:58 PM on August 27, 2021

Oh and the insurance companies make therapists work REALLY HARD at get reimbursed. Not really hard at providing better care, but really hard at jumping through bureaucratic hoops and needless/worthless documentation, etc just to get paid. When therapists factor in time spent chasing down reimbursement (to say nothing of their other overhead) we are talking maybe 30 bucks an hour. This is why you're having troubles.
posted by flamk at 9:02 PM on August 27, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks everyone I realise I just needed the affirmation that in-network isn’t worth the search and I’ve scheduled someone that seems a fit for next week.

This led me to look more into my insurance and after my deductible (not high I would hit it in 2-3 months), it covers ~50% out of network. This makes it much more palatable.

I’m privileged that this is not a bit deal for me to accommodate but still pretty shocked the cost for something most people should/need for their health.
posted by artificialard at 8:27 AM on August 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Be careful with out-of-network coverage: that 50% probably won’t be 50% of the actual cost, but rather 50% of some unrealistically low number the insurance company has deemed to be the appropriate cost of therapy.
posted by the_blizz at 5:20 PM on August 29, 2021

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