Non-Kaiser Health Insurance for Mental Health Care for 17-yo

Hello Berkeley Parents.

We have a 17-year-old daughter who has been struggling with depression and anxiety, exacerbated by the school closure during the Covid shutdown. We have Kaiser as our health insurance carrier and we like them for routine and preventive care and I'd like to keep it for that reason.  However, their mental health care has been extremely disappointing (that is not even strong enough to express my feelings about that, but that's for another time and place).  We have found a non-Kaiser therapist who finally seems to be making a bit of a difference, but it is expensive to pay out of pocket.

I have read on some of the thread about mental health about having to buy separate health insurance to pay for these service and I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations  any particular health insurance carrier that I can get for my daughter specifically for this purpose? I would appreciate if if your recommendation is accompanied by your own experience with these insurance carriers.

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Hi, I am also with Kaiser and have found their mental health approach disappointing. I researched it further because it does not make sense. What I found out is that they cannot find nearly enough therapists to fill the tremendous need. 

Following your post. I have the same feeling about Kaiser and we will change for Cigna, hoping it will be easier to find a therapist who cares for my 16yo who is struggling at school and loosing self confidence.

I would be careful about switching to PPO to get better mental health care. We had both Cigna and Blue Shield during a 2-year break from Kaiser due to an employer change. Kaiser is bad, but the others were no better. With Cigna I had to call 35 therapists to find ONE that took their insurance (even though all 35 were listed on their site as preferred providers that took Cigna). I had a few sessions with that one person, a LCSW, but she was very new and inexperienced. With Blue Shield, it was even worse. I called over 30 and none actually took Blue Shield. They all said they would provide a "super bill", but the PPOs only pay a small fraction of those fees as they're considered out-of-network. I have heard some people have success getting Kaiser to pay for outside therapists, so that might be an option.

We were with Anthem Blue Cross before switching to Kaiser in June. We couldn't find a therapist that was covered Anthem either so have been paying out of pocket for therapy both with Anthem & Kaiser. Psychiatry is covered, and we were lucky to find a great one with Kaiser (Dr. Westlake). Good luck!