Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Ketamine Treatment?

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Ketamine Treatment

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a leading health insurance provider that offers a wide range of coverage for various treatments to cater to their policyholders’ diverse needs.

However, many find themselves asking, “Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover Ketamine treatment?” Knowing the details of insurance coverage is important for anyone looking for this advanced treatment for conditions like depression, anxiety, and pain disorders.

In this article, we discuss the specifics of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s coverage for Ketamine treatments. We’ll address some important things to think about, potential issues to be aware of, and how to understand your insurance coverage better by navigating through the details.

What is Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is a federation of 36 separate health insurance organizations and companies in the United States.

Combined, they provide health insurance to over 106 million people across all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

BCBS has a strong reputation for its comprehensive health insurance coverage that offers a wide range of insurance plans to cater to different individual and family needs.

They offer different types of plans like HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS, each catering to different healthcare requirements and budget constraints. BCBS is known for its extensive network of healthcare providers that ensure their policyholders have access to quality healthcare services nationwide.

What are the potential benefits of ketamine treatment?

A study conducted in 2000 at Yale University School of Medicine found that ketamine therapy greatly reduced symptoms of depression within four hours. The effects lasted for 3 days or even longer.

This treatment also offers a lot of benefits, especially for people who have not responded well to more traditional treatment methods. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Fast-Acting Relief: Unlike many traditional antidepressants, which can take weeks or months to take full effect, ketamine often provides relief in as little as a few hours to a few days.
  • Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD): Ketamine has been shown to be effective for those who have not responded to other treatments, a condition known as Treatment Resistant Depression.
  • Anxiety and PTSD: Studies have shown that ketamine can be beneficial in treating anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), providing relief from symptoms.
  • Chronic Pain: Ketamine is also used for managing chronic pain conditions like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.
  • Suicidality: There is growing evidence that ketamine can quickly reduce suicidal thoughts which makes it potentially useful in crisis situations.

How much is ketamine treatment without insurance?

How much is ketamine treatment

The price of ketamine treatment can differ a lot based on different things, including the provider’s policies, geographical location, and the specific needs of the patient.

According to American Society of Ketamine Physicians, a single ketamine treatment usually costs between $400 and $800 for a 40-60 minute infusion. If you require multiple treatments over several weeks, the cost can increase to $3000-$5000.

It’s important to know that even though this treatment has benefits, it can be expensive and not affordable for many people. That’s why it’s crucial to understand your insurance coverage, talk to your provider about costs, and consider other ways to pay.

It’s best to check with your insurance or the treatment center for accurate information about ketamine treatment costs.

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover ketamine treatment?

BCBS usually doesn’t cover ketamine treatment for conditions related to depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. However, esketamine (Spravato), which comes from ketamine, is approved by the FDA to treat depression, works really well, and BCBS covers it.

Also, the FDA has given its approval for Esketamine, a nasal spray that is similar to Ketamine. This is more likely to be covered by insurance, including policies provided by BCBS.

But remember, even if a treatment is covered, the amount paid by insurance can differ greatly depending on your specific plan, deductible, and co-insurance responsibilities.

Make sure to contact BCBS directly to check if they cover Ketamine treatment for you. Reach out to BCBS’s customer service line, which is available on the back of your insurance card, to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover Spravato?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) does provide coverage for Spravato (esketamine) treatment in many cases.

Spravato is considered medically necessary and consequently covered for the treatment of Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD) in adults, given that certain criteria are met.

However, it’s important to note that coverage can vary depending on the specific policy, so individuals seeking this treatment should contact BCBS directly to confirm their coverage details.

What is the eligibility for coverage for BCBS?

To be eligible for coverage of Spravato under BCBS, policyholders must typically meet several criteria.

  • The patient must be diagnosed with Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD).
  • The diagnosis must be confirmed by a mental health specialist.
  • The patient should have tried at least two other antidepressant treatments which have not been successful.
  • Spravato must be prescribed and supervised by a healthcare provider.
  • The prescription for Spravato is part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychotherapy.
  • The patient has not shown any contraindication to the use of Spravato.

Checking Your Coverage

Before starting any medical treatment, it’s crucial to check your insurance coverage. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to do it with Blue Cross Blue Shield or any other insurance carrier:

  • Understand Your Health Plan: Familiarize yourself with your health insurance plan. Take note of the terms like your premium, deductible, copayments, and out-of-pocket limit. These details can significantly affect how much you have to pay out of pocket for your treatment.
  • Speak with Your Healthcare Provider: Discuss the treatment plan with your healthcare provider. They can provide the necessary documentation and medical codes required by the insurance company.
  • Contact Your Insurance Provider: Reach out to your insurance company directly. You can usually find their customer support number on your insurance card. Ask them about your coverage for the specific treatment, the amount they cover, and what your out-of-pocket expenses might be.
  • Check for Preauthorization Requirements: Some insurance companies require preauthorization before they cover a treatment. If your healthcare provider has not already done this, you will need to initiate the process.
  • Review the Explanation of Benefits (EOB): After receiving treatment, you will receive an EOB from your insurance company. This document breaks down the cost of treatment, what your insurance paid, and what you might owe. Review this document carefully to ensure it matches your understanding of your coverage.

Getting Coverage With Blue Cross Blue Shield Tips

If you believe ketamine treatment is the right choice for your mental health condition and want to maximize your chances of obtaining coverage, consider the following tips:

  • Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: Talk to your provider about treatment options and get their support and documentation for medical necessity.
  • Research Your Policy: Carefully review your insurance policy documents to understand coverage details, limitations, and any pre-authorization or referral requirements.
  • Contact Blue Cross Blue Shield: Reach out to Blue Cross Blue Shield directly to inquire about the coverage for ketamine treatment under your specific policy.
  • Keep Detailed Records: Keep a record of all conversations, including dates, times, and representative names. This info can be helpful if you experience any issues with your claims.
  • Follow the Claims Process: If your provider deems ketamine treatment medically necessary and your policy covers it, ensure that you follow the claims process outlined by Blue Cross Blue Shield to seek reimbursement.

What should you do if your Blue Cross does not cover ketamine treatment?

If your Blue Cross policy does not cover ketamine treatment, there are still options available to you. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Contact other insurance providers to explore coverage options.
  • Look for alternative treatment methods that may have less cost and be covered by your insurance.
  • Reach out to the ketamine treatment center for discounts or payment plans.
  • Inquire about financial assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies for medications like Spravato.
  • Consider reaching out to a patient advocacy group for support and resources. One such organization is the Ketamine Advocacy Network, which offers information and assistance to individuals seeking ketamine treatment.

Alternative coverage options for ketamine treatment

For those whose insurance does not cover ketamine treatment, there are several alternative ways to help offset the cost.

  • Clinical Trials: Some patients may qualify for clinical trials that are studying the use of ketamine for depression. is a resource provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and is a reliable source to find ongoing clinical trials in your area.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA): These accounts, which are often part of your benefits package at work, allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars for medical expenses not covered by insurance. According to, you may be able to use these funds towards the cost of ketamine treatments.
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Some nonprofit organizations, like the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, provide financial assistance to underinsured patients who meet certain income criteria.
  • Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs: Some pharmaceutical companies, like Janssen Pharmaceuticals (the maker of Spravato), offer patient assistance programs for those who cannot afford their medication.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like GoFundMe can be used to raise funds for medical treatments.


In conclusion, while navigating insurance coverage for ketamine treatment can be complex, it is not an impossible task. With the right information, talking to your healthcare provider, and a little creativity, you can find practical ways to get this treatment that could change your life.

Whether you’re covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield or another insurer, remember that you have options, including alternative therapies, clinical trials, and financial assistance programs.


Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover ketamine treatment for pain?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield may cover ketamine treatment for chronic pain if it has been deemed medically necessary by a healthcare provider. However, coverage may vary depending on your specific policy and plan.

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover esketamine treatment?

Yes, some Blue Cross Blue Shield plans may cover esketamine treatment. Esketamine, marketed as Spravato, is approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression when used alongside an oral antidepressant.

Does Medicaid cover ketamine treatment?

Most forms of ketamine treatment are not covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Currently, only nasal injections are eligible for insurance coverage, but there may be limitations on the extent and frequency of the treatment. It’s important to note that some states have their own Medicare and Medicaid programs, so it’s advisable to check your state’s guidelines on mental health treatment as they are frequently updated.

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The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Don’t ignore professional medical advice or put off seeking it just because of something you read here. Although we aim to offer precise and current information, we do not guarantee its completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability for any purpose. Using the information in this document is at your own risk. We are not responsible for any losses or damages caused by our content.

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