Does Medicare Cover Mental Health Services?

Medicare and Mental Health

Mental health conditions affect people of all ages, but statistically affect seniors at an alarming rate. Conditions such as depression and anxiety can leave seniors with many serious symptoms that can be severe if left un-treated.

While mental health conditions affect large amounts of seniors, it is not a guaranteed or normal part of aging. This is why it is important to stay on top of your mental health as you age. Thankfully, Original Medicare covers an annual depression screening to allow you to monitor your mental health.

When you turn 65, you can enroll in what is known as Original Medicare. This includes Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). Medicare Part B is the portion of Original Medicare that covers your outpatient medical needs, which includes one yearly depression screening. This depression screening will come at no additional cost to you, as long as you enroll in Part B.

What Is a Mental Health Condition?

 Mental health conditions include a wide variety of conditions, but of those, the most common are anxiety and depression. These conditions affect a person’s overall well-being.

These conditions can have many symptoms, included but not limited to:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Poor appetite
  • Panic or fear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of interest/lack of energy

If you feel any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you go to your health care provider and ask for your annual depression screening. At the time of the screening, if you are found to have any mental health condition, your doctor will provide a variety of different treatment options.

What Mental Health Services Does Original Medicare Cover?

 If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend hospitalization as your course of treatment. Because Medicare Part A covers your hospital expenses, this part of Medicare will help cover the costs associated with your stay as an inpatient. This includes your medications, the room you stay in, any lab tests you need, nursing care, and therapy.

If your symptoms are present but not severe, your doctor might recommend outpatient treatment. Your Medicare Part B plan helps cover these out-of-hospital treatments. These services might include seeing a psychiatrist, seeing a clinical psychologist or social worker, or any lab tests you might need.

What Will I Have to Pay for Mental Health Coverage?

 If your doctor accepts assignment, meaning he accepts the Medicare payment as full payment, your Medicare Part B plan will cover your associated costs. If you do not have a Medicare supplement plan, you will have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. You must first meet your yearly Part B deductible for these costs to kick in.

Any out-of-pocket costs will include the costs of support groups, meals, or transportation. Original Medicare does not cover these costs. Additionally, you might have to pay an additional copayment or coinsurance to the hospital if you receive services from a hospital outpatient clinic.

How Can a Medicare Supplement Plan Help?

 With certain Medicare supplement plans, you can get full coverage on the 20% of the Medicare-approved amount on services that you would normally have to pay yourself. This ensures that you will receive full coverage for your mental health services. Medicare supplement plans might also cover other costs such as copays, coinsurance, your part B deductible, and excess charges. Contact us today at (800) 310-2550 to learn more about your mental health coverage options through Medicare, and how a Medicare supplement plan can help, or learn more about the different plans here.

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