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Does Medicare Cover Counseling For Depression

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Medicare Coverage For Inpatient Mental Health Services

Medicare & You: Mental Health Benefits

In some cases, inpatient counseling and mental health services are the best options to help you get better. If your doctor recommends inpatient mental health care, Medicare will then cover most of your costs.

Part A pays allowable charges after you pay your Part A deductible. There is a lifetime inpatient mental health benefit of 190 days.

Paying For Mental Health Services With Medicare

  • Learn what types of mental health care are covered by Medicare, how often you can access therapy and if you can combine insurance plans for more coverage.

If you’re a Medicare recipient, it can be difficult to determine exactly what’s covered under your plan. If you require counseling or other mental health services, you’re probably wondering if Medicare covers therapy or not. Below, we discuss how to access mental health care using your Medicare benefits.

What Youll Pay For Inpatient Mental Health Care

A deductible of $1,484 applies to inpatient psychiatric care for each benefit period. You will owe no coinsurance for the first 60 days of a hospital stay for psychiatric treatment. But you will owe copays of 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for mental health services you receive from doctors and other providers while you’re an inpatient.

For days 61 through 90 of a psychiatric hospital stay, youll owe $371 per day in coinsurance. Your daily coinsurance jumps to $742 per each lifetime reserve day after day 90. After that, you pay all costs.

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Why Explore Therapy/mental Health Options

While retirement is often a time to rest, relax and enjoy life, many seniors still face mental health stresses in retirement. Anxiety, depression or stress could result from situations such as:

  • Adjusting to life in retirement after a long career.
  • Living on a newly fixed income.
  • Grieving the loss of a loved one.

According to recent figures, almost one quarter of American adults aged 65 or older report feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression. Perhaps coincidentally, approximately one quarter of American seniors aged 65 or older live in social isolation. Living alone and retiring single means some seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health issues arising from social isolation.

Seniors may be able to prevent or even alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression by seeking professional help, engaging in physical exercise, spending time outdoors, meditating, following a balanced diet and taking part in regular social interaction with friends and family. Ensuring that you get the right care as you age can also help you maintain a positive mindset when you retire.

Does Medicare Cover Therapy

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In short, yes, Medicare does help pay for therapy and a variety of other mental health services. However, it’s important to note that to receive this coverage, beneficiaries must be enrolled in Medicare Part B, which includes both medically necessary and preventative services for its members. Additionally, there are some limitations to the services that can be accessed, and beneficiaries may be required to pay a deductible and a co-pay, depending on the service they access.

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Medicare Coverage For Outpatient Mental Health Services

Many mental health conditions can be managed with outpatient therapy. This therapy can consist of one-on-one visits with a psychotherapist or counselor, group therapy, or family counseling. Part B covers all of these services, including family counseling, as long as your provider deems each as being medically necessary for treating your condition.

Medicare doesnt cover all types of therapy, however. For instance, marriage counseling isnt typically covered by Medicare. Counseling provided by a non-licensed professional, such as a member of the clergy, also isnt covered by Medicare.

Another noteworthy piece of information is that there may be coverage limits on Medicares counseling benefit. For example, Part B only pays for four alcohol misuse counseling sessions per year. Medicare also requires that your counseling or therapy sessions take place in a doctors office or other Medicare-approved facility.

Medicare pays 80% of the allowable charges for counseling and therapy after you meet your Part B deductible.


Medicare has comprehensive mental health care benefits for both inpatient and outpatient counseling services.

When Does Medicare Cover Counseling Services

Medicare has comprehensive mental health care benefits for both inpatient and outpatient counseling services. In order to be covered, your counseling or therapy must be provided by a licensed healthcare professional, such as:

  • A psychiatrist or other medical doctor
  • A clinical psychologist
  • A clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner
  • A physicians assistant

It is important to note that Part B will only pay for therapy and counseling services if your provider accepts Medicare assignment.

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Mental Health Professional Services

Medicare Part B helps cover mental health services and visits with health care providers who accept assignment, or the approved amount. The term assignment means that the provider of the mental health services agrees to charge the amount that Medicare has approved for services. You should ask the provider if they accept assignment before agreeing to services. It is in the best interest of the mental health service provider to notify you if they do not accept assignment, however, you should confirm this before signing any agreements with the provider.

You may want to visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Physician Compare, to find a doctor who accepts Medicare services. A list of professionals or group practices in the specialty and geographic area you specify, along with detailed profiles, maps, and driving directions are available.

Health professional types covered include:

  • medical doctors

Does Tricare For Life Cover Marriage Counseling

Medicare & You: Medicare’s Preventive Benefits

TRICARE for Life is a health care program for current and former military service members and their families that enhances their Medicare coverage. It does not specifically cover marriage counseling, but like Medicare, it covers counseling for mental health.

If you or your spouse has depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, adjustment issues or other mental health problems, counseling may help. It could be one-on-one or family counseling.

TRICARE for Life members must use in-network authorized counseling providers. You’ll pay your Medicare Part B premiums, but there are no other costs to access counseling through TRICARE for Life in most cases.

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Does Medicare Cover Psychologist Visits

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and are one of the health care providers covered by Medicare Part B.

Coverage: Medicare pays 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount. You pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount, the Part B deductible, and coinsurance costs. Check that your psychologist accepts assignment or is in your insurance providers network, otherwise Medicare will not pay for the services.

Medicare And Counselors: Frequently Asked Questions

Scott Barstow, Christopher Campbell and Brian Altman January 7, 2006

At presstime, Congress was still considering budget reconciliation legislation that included language establishing Medicare coverage of state-licensed professional counselors. American Counseling Association members are strongly encouraged to check www.counseling.org/publicpolicy for updates on the status of this legislation and the possible need for grass-roots support for this provision. This website and the related website at http://capwiz.com/

counseling will include information regarding members of Congress to contact and suggested messages for discussing the issue.

To help familiarize counselors with both Medicare and the legislative process involved in working to gain recognition of counselors under this program, ACAs Office of Public Policy and Legislation offers a list of frequently asked questions .

Q: What is Medicare? Who are Medicares beneficiaries?

Q: How do I get a Medicare provider number?

A: Right now, you cant. Currently, psychologists and clinical social workers are the only nonphysician mental health professionals covered under the program. Congress writes Medicares benefit package. At presstime, Congress had yet to pass legislation establishing Medicare coverage of licensed professional counselors.

Q: Since Medicare coverage of counselors has passed the Senate, does this mean its going to become law in a certain amount of time?

Q: What groups are opposing this provision?

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Medicare Coverage Of Mental Health Services

A persons mental health refers to their state of psychological, emotional, and social well-being and its important to take care of it at every stage of life, from childhood to late adulthood. Fortunately, Medicare beneficiaries struggling with mental health conditions may be covered for mental health services through Medicare. Mental health services are a system of care that aim to assess, diagnose, treat, and counsel in an individual or group setting anyone who needs help alleviating mental or emotional illness, symptoms, conditions, and disorders. Find out what is included in your Medicare coverage for mental health services and get the help you or a loved one need.

Medicare Part D And Medigap

Guide to Medicare Mental Health Coverage

Medicare Part D covers prescription drug benefits. Part D plans help pay for antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and most other protected mental health treatment medications.

If you do not have a Medicare Advantage plan, Medigap may also pay for some of your deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance related to inpatient or outpatient care.

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Which Mental Health Services Are Covered By Medicare Insurance

Your Medicare mental health coverage may cover a variety of resources and services, including but not limited to the below:1

  • Counseling for Alcohol Abuse
  • Family Counseling
  • Medication management and several non-self-administered prescription drugs
  • One depression screening per year
  • Opioid use disorder treatment2

Does Medicare Cover Family Counseling

Medicare Part B may help pay for family counseling if the goal of the therapy is related to helping your treatment. In addition, grief and loss counseling may be covered by Medicare for qualified hospice patients and their families, if it is provided by a Medicare-approved hospice and available in that state. Medicare does not cover other types of relationship counseling, such as marriage counseling. Youre only covered for mental health services from a licensed psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or other health care professional who accepts Medicare assignment.

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Medicare Part D Coverage

Your doctor may prescribe medications as part of your treatment. Keep in mind that Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, includes only limited prescription drug coverage, although Part B covers certain prescription drugs you get in an outpatient setting, such as medications you cant give yourself. For most other prescription needs, youll need to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan if you have Original Medicare.

Another option is to sign up for a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, which includes both health and drug benefits. These plans must provide at least the same level of coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B, but may include additional coverage, including drug benefits, routine vision and dental, and more. You need to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium along with any plan premium. There are only certain times when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Keep in mind that prescription costs may vary by plan, even for the same medications. One way to minimize your costs is to compare plans and find a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan that covers your prescriptions with low cost-sharing. Remember, costs to consider include not only premiums and copayments or coinsurance, but also deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum limits.

To browse plans in your area, simply enter your zip code where indicated on this page.

To learn about Medicare plans you may be eligible for, you can:

Does Medicare Cover Marriage Counseling

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Medicare only covers services linked to a primary psychiatric diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . Medicare has only started reimbursing marriage and family therapists starting in 2019, and only for services for people with a primary substance use disorder diagnosis. It wont cover any kind of marriage or family therapy from any kind of provider if it isnt required to treat a mental health condition. This means that if you want to see a social worker or psychologist to address communication or other relationship issues that arent directly related to a mental health diagnosis, Medicare wont cover it.

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Does Medicare Cover Prescription Drugs For Mental Health

Stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans can vary in both costs and which drugs are covered. To find out if a medication you need is covered by a specific Medicare plan that offers prescription drug coverage, check the planâs drug formulary, which is a list of medications covered by the plan. The formulary may change at any time. You will receive notice from your plan when necessary.

Medicare Part D covers prescription drug benefits you may need for treatment of your condition. Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, doesnât include drug coverage, although Medicare Part B covers some medications that canât be self-administered, such as drugs given by injection. For other prescription coverage, however, beneficiaries with Original Medicare must enroll in a separate Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Medicare Advantage enrollees can get drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, which includes Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D benefits under a single plan.

Certain drugs that treat mental health conditions are in protected classes under Medicare Part D, including antipsychotic drugs, antidepressant drugs, and anticonvulsant drugs. With some exceptions, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans must cover most medications in these drug classes.

Does Medicare Cover Psychiatry

Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors that can prescribe medications to treat complex and serious mental illness and are one of the health care providers covered by Medicare Part B.

Coverage: Medicare Part B helps pay for a psychiatric evaluation. Medicare pays 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount. You pay 20 percent of the approved amount, the Part B deductible, and coinsurance costs.

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Additional Depression Treatment Options

There are some additional depression treatment options seniors can consider, though these options are not typically covered by Medicare.

  • Electroconvulsive therapy, or electroshock therapy, is typically used in cases of severe depression where the risk of suicide or harm to others is very high.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation is often used to treat major depression in people who have already tried antidepressants. An electromagnetic coil is placed over the scalp and creates a magnetic field that stimulates the nerves in the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain that controls mood.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation is a treatment used when most other options have failed. A device similar to a pacemaker is implanted into the chest with wires leading to the vagus nerve of the neck. The device sends regular electrical currents to the nerve, which is responsible for relaying information to the brain.
  • Exercise has been shown by research to fight depression and is a treatment option that comes free of cost and can even be made easier with the help of a Medicare Advantage plan that offers fitness club memberships. High-intensity exercise releases endorphins, which are the bodys positive chemicals responsible for whats commonly called a runners high. Low-intensity exercise sustained over time releases neurotrophic proteins that promote growth in brain function and can make you generally feel better.

Compare Medicare Advantage benefits in your area

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Medicare Advantage Plans And Mental Health Counseling

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Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers and cover everything that Original Medicare does, but these plans may provide you with additional benefits when it comes to mental health counseling options.

Examples of Additional Counseling Benefits Offered Through Medicare Advantage Plans

  • Conflict resolution
  • Counseling for life changes such as job loss or divorce
  • Grief counseling

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Medicare Part D And Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D are plans run by private companies approved by Medicare. Since each plan can vary by coverage and cost, its important to know the details of your plan and how it applies to medication for mental health care.

Most plans have a list of drugs the plan covers. Although these plans are not required to cover all medications, most are required to cover medications which may be used for mental health care, such as:

  • anticonvulsants
  • antipsychotics

If your doctor prescribes a drug that yourplan doesnt cover, you canask for coverage determination and/or an exception.

Mental health care services typically not included under Medicare parts A and B are:

  • private room

When Your Client Has Medicare And Another Policy

When a client is covered by two insurance policies, normally you would determine which is the primary plan and bill them first. A claim could then be sent to the secondary plan with a copy of the Explanation of Benefits from the primary plan, showing how the claim was paid.

When a client has Medicare coverage as well as private health insurance, Medicare is the primary payer and the other plan is secondary. So you should always bill Medicare first, right? Not necessarily. Things get messy if you are one of the many providers not eligible to participate in Medicare, including Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Professional Counselors.

If you are a NOT a Medicare-eligible provider, the secondary plan essentially becomes the primary payer. But theres a catch.In the past, plans required providers or patients to submit denial letters from Medicare before the plans would pay out as a second party payer, writes Catherine Atkins, JD, Deputy Executive Director of the California Assn. of Marriage and Family Therapists .1 However, Medicare changed its policy and no longer sends denial letters for services to Medicare patients, says Atkins. Because providers were unable to garner denial letters from Medicare for the treatment, they were unable to submit the claim to the secondary plan for processing and payment.

Bottom Line: Contact the secondary plan you are working with to find out their policies and the best way to handle this situation.


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