Original Medicare offers mental health benefits to beneficiaries needing mental health services. Here is a quick overview of those benefits:
Medicare Part B will pay 80% (once the Part B deductible is met) for outpatient counseling services. The remaining 20% would be the co-insurance paid by the patient (or a MediGap plan, if the patient has a supplemental plan).
Medicare allows its beneficiaries the option of getting treatment through a variety of mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and clinical nurse specialists. Most of our clients prefer to find a provider who accepts Medicare and takes assignment. If a provider doesn’t accept assignment then Medicare will not pay for the services or reimburse a beneficiary for amounts paid to non-participating providers. The Licensed Clinical Social Workers at Mindful Transitions are all certified Medicare providers and take assignment.
Mental Health Screenings
In addition to psychotherapy, Medicare covers yearly depression screenings that must be done in a primary care doctor’s office or primary care clinic. This can help with appropriate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. There is no cost for this screening. If your doctor hasn’t talked to you about your mental health, you can always request a screening.
Inpatient Psychiatric Services
The benefits for inpatient psychiatric services are paid by Medicare the same way that general hospital services are paid. There is a $1,340 deductible for each benefit period, $0 coinsurance for the first 60 days, and $335 co-insurance for days 61-90. Medicare pays for 80% of all mental health services provided while the patient is in the hospital. Medicare limits the number of psychiatric hospital stays to 190 days per lifetime; after those days are used up, the patient must pay for inpatient psychiatric care privately.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are structured programs provided as an alternative to inpatient psychiatric care. They are more intense than traditional therapy, are provided during the day, and do not require an overnight stay. Medicare helps cover partial hospitalization services when they’re provided through a hospital outpatient department or community mental health center (assuming that the doctor and the partial hospitalization program accept assignment).
Medicare usually covers medications used to treat mental health conditions under the Part D prescription drug benefit. The Part D formularies may limit which medications are covered and should be checked. Each Part D plan creates its own list of approved and covered drugs. The open enrollment period is a great time to review your plans’ formulary and to possibly switch to a new plan.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage Plans also offer mental health services, but there are limits to their services. They have a narrow network of providers. Each plan has to be explored individually to learn what they will provide.
To locate a provider in your area that accepts Medicare assignment, use Medicare’s online tool at medicare.gov/physiciancompare. Type in your zip code, or city and state, then type in the type of profession you want locate, like “psychiatry” or “clinical social worker” in the “specialty” box.
The Licensed Clinical Social Workers at Mindful Transitions are Medicare providers and take assignment. In addition to providing psychotherapy, we also provide comprehensive clinical social work services to each of our clients, ensuring that they are connected to important services in the community and that their care is coordinated between all providers. Taking this holistic perspective that incorporates the whole system is important for the well-being and optimal functioning for each of our clients. We provide psychotherapy and so much more!