If you or a family member have ever had to seek treatment for depression or any other mental health issue in the past, you were probably floored by the fact that Medicare only covered 50 percent of your services (it was then bumped to 65 percent in 2013). In 2014 Medicare finally took steps to improve coverage for older adults seeking mental health services.
For the first time, Medicare now covers mental health services as they would any other medical treatment. Many older adults who found themselves unable to pay for services in the past are now able to seek the care they so desperately need.
Medicare’s Mental Health Coverage
Here’s a breakdown of Medicare’s coverage for mental health in 2014:
As you can see, Medicare covers inpatient psychiatric care in a regular hospital as it would any other illness; however, it limits inpatient care in a psychiatric facility to only 190 days per lifetime. It’s also important to note that long-term care is not covered by Medicare for any reason, so if this is something you think you or a family member may need in the future, you’ll want to consider long-term care insurance.
A Medicare supplement plan can help cover your deductible and other out-of-pocket expenses left behind by Medicare alone, and these plans also provide an extra 365 inpatient lifetime reserve days. A Medicare Advantage plan is another option to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
As we age, our risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental health issues increases. It’s important to take advantage of preventive medicine screenings that are available and consult your physician if you have any questions or concerns.
Do you have any questions about Medicare’s coverage for mental health? Do you have any other concerns you would like us to provide you with more information on?
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.