Blue Cross Blue Shield Substance Abuse – What’s Really Covered?

Clinical Reviewer

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield policies cover substance abuse treatment, including inpatient and outpatient rehab, as well as anti-craving medications like Suboxone or Vivitrol.

Though, being covered by insurance doesn’t necessarily mean addiction treatment is free. 

Blue Cross Levels of Care Coverage for Substance Abuse

Does Blue Cross cover inpatient rehab?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield covers inpatient rehab when medically necessary. 

Does Blue Cross cover IOP?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance covers Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). The insurance provider sets the requirement for IOP at nine hours of group therapy per week.

Blue Cross Coverage FAQ

BlueCross BlueShield insurance covers detox when medically necessary, which depends on the drug of choice. Drugs like marijuana, meth or cocaine are unlikely to get coverage for detox since these drugs do not have the same physical withdrawals as alcohol, benzodiazepines or opioids.

BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurance provider in the country and is run by 36 independent organizations. Most look like “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois” or “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas”, but some have variations like “Florida Blue” or “Anthem Kentucky.”

All of these are actually different organizations. An addiction provider can be in-network with one territory, but not another even if they are both Blue Cross. Each BlueCross organization can set different services as covered, not covered or require a specific process for coverage.

Mental Health Benefits

Also, some BlueCross policies offer only medical coverage and not mental health. Usually, this is something the policyholder chose because it is cheaper.  Mental healthcare coverage is required for addiction treatment.

Blue Cross Substance Abuse Medication Coverage

Does Blue Cross cover Suboxone?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield considers Suboxone a tier 1 or preferred medication. It doesn’t require prior authorization but does have dispensing limits.  The medication, as well as the doctor visits and labs should all be covered with BCBS insurance.

Does Blue Cross cover methadone?

Yes, methadone is covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans but often requires prior authorization. All forms of methadone are labeled a tier 2 or “non-preferred” medication.

It is a common methadone myth that the medication is not covered by insurance. Symetria is in-network with Blue Cross and the insurance company has covered methadone treatment for hundreds of patients here over the last five years as a proven harm-reduction treatment.

Additional Substance Abuse Medications

Yes, Vivitrol is covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans and does not require prior authorization.

Sometimes. It can be a challenge for the provider to prove that Sublocade is “medically necessary” and meets the specific criteria. (Sublocade is much more expensive and less researched than Suboxone).

The requirements and approval rates for Sublocade vary by state, but often include that:

  • The opioid addiction must be proven to be moderate or severe.
  • The patient must be enrolled in addiction counseling.

It can take 3-4 weeks to get the approval for Sublocade and have the medication shipped.

Yes, Narcan (naloxone) spray is covered and does not require prior authorization. (Symetria also offers Narcan free to the community). 

How much does addiction treatment cost with Blue Cross Blue Shield?

While having BCBS insurance tells you that insurance will likely pay something for addiction treatment, it doesn’t tell you how much insurance will pay versus how much you owe.

To understand how much you will owe, you need to know:

1. The deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum rates for your policy

You pay until you meet your deductible. This is a set amount you pay for healthcare before insurance companies pay anything. It resets every year. Some plans have no deductible, though the average deductible last year was $1,655. If you hit your deductible with rehab, any future healthcare costs for the year is reduced.

Then, you pay coinsurance, which is the percentage of healthcare costs that you share with your insurance company after your deductible — unless your policy covers 100%. For example, if you have a $100 healthcare cost and your plan has 80% coinsurance, you owe $20 coinsurance.

But, you stop paying anything if you hit an out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum and insurance covers 100%. If you’ve been hospitalized or went to inpatient rehab, you likely will owe very little for additional services.

Blue Cross Rates for Addiction Treatment

BlueCross has a wide range of options for deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket rates. The employer chooses what rates to offer and the rates impact the monthly cost of your insurance coverage. 

If an employer allows employees to choose between high deductible and low deductible plans, then even two people with a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance policies from the same employer can owe dramatically different amounts for addiction treatment.

2. The amount you already spent on healthcare this year

Health insurance plans accumulate for one year – usually January to December, but each employer can set its own month for renewal. Health care costs paid during this time count toward your deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. 

So, someone who was hospitalized earlier in the year might pay nothing or much less than someone with the exact same policy that has not accumulated any healthcare cost in the year.

3. Whether the provider you choose is in-network

Choosing a provider that is out-of-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield will almost always cost you more.

Note: Some addiction treatment centers that say they “accept Blue Cross Blue Shield” are actually out-of-network, so it’s best to ask directly or confirm with BCBS directly.

Getting a Cost Estimate

If you give your insurance information to any addiction treatment center, they should provide you with a cost estimate upfront. (Insurance inquiries are 100% confidential, your employer or others on your insurance plan are not alerted when you inquire).

If you’re in Illinois or Texas, you can use the button below to submit your insurance information online.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Subboxone Doctors, Methadone Clinic, IOP Near Me

Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a “Blue Distinction” recognition for the “Substance Use Treatment and Recovery” category. 

Using the Blue Distinction search tool on the BCBS website can help you find the best option.

If you aren’t able to locate a provider, you can try to general Find a Doctor search tool on the BlueCross Blue Shield website or call the number on the back of your insurance card to find a provider that is in-network, though likely not meeting the Blue Distinction criteria.

Symetria Recovery holds Blue Distinction status, so if you’re in Illinois or Texas, click a location below to learn more.

Outpatient Rehab Clinics In-Network with Blue Cross

Symetria doctors follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and their own expertise with decades in the field.

2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. (2021, November 10). Retrieved July 6, 2022, from KFF website:

‌Blue Distinction Center Facility Finder | Blue Cross Blue Shield. (2022). Retrieved July 6, 2022, from website:

‌Find a Doctor. (2022). Retrieved July 6, 2022, from website:

‌Prescription Drug Lists | Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. (2022). Retrieved July 6, 2022, from website:

All content is for informational purposes only. No material on this site, whether from our doctors or the community, is a substitute for seeking personalized professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard advice from a qualified healthcare professional or delay seeking advice because of something you read on this website.

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  1. Hi Good I am trying to get a free narcan kit to carry on my person. I have lost more than 5 loved ones the past 12 months from overdosing on that Devil drug Fentynal makes me sick about that but I feel like I should be ready willing and able to help my fellow man.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that. If you live in Illinois or Texas, Symetria would be happy to give you a Narcan kit. You can also visit most pharmacies (like CVS) and ask the pharmacist for Narcan. The medication is available without a prescription and covered by most Blue Cross policies. If you have a copay, search for programs in your state or city or local non-profits that offer Narcan for free. I know states like OH, DE, IA, NE and MN and cities including Denver, Philadelphia and Chicago currently have free Narcan programs. Narcan saves lives!

  2. I’m pregnant and trying to quit smoking weed before this baby comes into the world with a clean system …do u have any suggestions for me as I am living in a hotel right now and need permanent housing.

What To Read Next
Do you live in Illinois or Texas?

Symetria has addiction treatment clinics across the state. You can likely get scheduled TODAY — medications or therapy.

Hi there — Most people want to know costs/insurance upfront. Would you like to check your policy now?