Medicare's Role In Supporting Senior Mental Health Needs

Medicare Posts $12B Loss for 2023

Mental Health Awareness Month in May highlights the importance of Medicare’s mental health services benefits.

This concern came up for me recently, when Michael, a 72-year-old former marketing executive, told me that he was feeling isolated and anxious, especially after his wife’s passing.

Michael’s question: Does Medicare provide support for mental health services, and, if so, how can enrollees use the mental health services benefits?

The short answer: Yes. Medicare now covers a wide range of mental health services.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has posted a 24-page guide to Medicare’s mental health benefits.

The Standard Benefits

Preventive services: Medicare Part B covers annual depression screenings.

Medications: Medicare Part D covers the medications used to treat mental health conditions.

Outpatient treatment: Years ago, health insurers skimped on coverage for mental health services delivered outside of institutions. Today, Medicare Part B covers psychiatric evaluations, individual therapy, group therapy and other services provided in outpatient settings.

Telehealth services: Medicare is now more likely than in the past to cover counseling and other services provided through telehealth systems. That can be especially helpful for clients in remote or underserved areas.

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