Medicare and Mental Health

2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates

Medicare and Mental Health

The growing number of mental health problems, especially in the wake of many school shooting incidents in recent years, has put additional emphasis on the importance of available medical coverage such as that with Medicare and mental health. Of course, there is a very big difference between treatments for mental health in seniors and in the younger generation, and as such both command largely different approaches. However, it is notable to emphasize that the government is committed to aiding in the treatment of mental illness as evidenced by Medicare providing coverage for seniors with mental health issues.

In this regard, Medicare and mental health are linked at the hip via Medicare Part B coverage. Part B coverage duly includes outpatient mental health services and will pay up to 80 percent of approved amount on the first diagnostic visit and for small sessions for consultation thereafter. For other visits of a non-consultative different nature after the first visit, Medicare Part B will pay up to 60 percent of the billed charge as indicated in the revised guidelines applicable since early 2012. You can then pay the balance out-of-pocket or allow your supplemental Medigap policy provider to shoulder it depending on your pre-arrangements.

It is also helpful to know about the exact coverage of Medicare and mental health services as stipulated in Medicare Part B. These include charges for therapy sessions whether done individually or as a group, family counseling which has been determined to be crucial to treatment, intermediate diagnostic tests to track the progress of treatment or ascertain the importance of other treatment options, activity and occupational therapy sessions, training and education services, laboratory tests, and prescription medication.

Moreover, Medicare and mental health services can be secured from various facilities including from general medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and clinical social workers among others. In these cases, Medicare is obliged to shoulder the fee for the charge as defined by the initial policy. The only caveat is to make sure that non-medical doctors handling your case should be duly accredited by Medicare in terms of the payment policy in order to eliminate confusion that may arise from how the payments are being settled. A common problem in this area includes dealing with psychologists who do not accept payment from participating providers or supplemental insurers.

Medicare and mental health coverage has also been extended to include yearly screening for depression. This is only recently included into the Medicare Part B provision and is becoming ever more important in the wake of the increasing trend in the instance of depression among seniors.

Last but not least, Medicare Part D services are also known to cover most drugs used in treating mental illnesses. To make sure you are taking full advantage of the Medicare and mental health connection, make sure you are also enrolled in Part D coverage, especially if you are diagnosed with a mental condition. By doing this you can have access to the most important treatment options at costs which are non-prohibitive to your current situation.

Give yourself the best chance of care via Medicare and mental health coverage by looking into getting a Part B and Part D coverage today along with any needed Medigap supplement policy.