Since 2014, Medicare has worked to expand coverage for mental health care items and services. While Part B covers outpatient mental health care, Part A will help pay for some mental health services when you’re an inpatient in either a general or psychiatric hospital.1
About mental health
Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how you think, feel and act. It also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health problems can affect your thoughts, moods and how you function in life.
Mental health problems can be caused by many factors including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Some mental health conditions such as minor depression, while painful, can be treated successfully. Medicare’s preventive services benefit covers depression screening once a year. Pay attention to any symptoms you may experience, and tell your doctor or health care provider if you have:
- Little interest in things you used to enjoy
- Sad, empty or hopeless feelings
- A lack of energy
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
- Thoughts of ending your life
How Medicare Part A covers mental health
Medicare Part A will help pay for mental health care if you are a hospital inpatient either in a general hospital or a psychiatric hospital.
During your stay, Part A will help cover your room, meals, therapy or other treatment you receive for your condition, lab tests, medications, nursing care, and other services and supplies if they relate to treating your condition.
Note: Coverage for care in a psychiatric hospital has a lifetime limit of 190 days, but there is no such limit for care received as an inpatient in a general hospital.
Other Medicare coverage for mental health
While Part A covers inpatient mental health, Part B will cover mental health care items such as visits with a psychiatrist, an annual depression screening and more.
Additionally, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage may help pay for drugs you may need to treat a mental health condition. Each Part D plan has its own list of covered drugs, known as formulary. Check with your plan to see which drugs it covers.
If you get your Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan, check your plan’s membership materials and call the plan for details about what other mental health benefits are provided and how coverage works overall.
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