Medicare covers hospital care and doctor visits. But did you know it also includes grief counseling and depression screening?

People with Medicare are happy campers. Nearly four out of five Medicare consumers (78%) give their Medicare plan four or five stars, with year being the highest rating, by 2020 survey.

But just because they’re happy with their coverage doesn’t mean they understand it. Like any insurance plan, Medicare can seem confusing if you don’t take the time to learn about it.

Participate in mental health services. Some people may not realize that Medicare covers a wide range of such services, including individual and group psychotherapy and psychiatric evaluation.

Read: When Should I Claim Social Security? When do I need to sign up for Medicare?

There is usually no limit to the number of mental health sessions that Medicare will cover, although you may have to pay out-of-pocket costs depending on the nature and scope of outpatient services you receive.

Despite Medicare’s extensive coverage, you still need to do a bit of due diligence when choosing a provider.

Read: Do you need a Medigap plan? How to choose the right one

“It can be difficult to find a psychiatrist or psychologist who contracts with Medicare and accepts Medicare and rates,” says Danielle Roberts, co-founder of Boomer Benefits, an insurance agency in Fort Worth. rate approved.

If you choose Original Medicare (as opposed to a Medicare Advantage plan), you’ll pay a small annual Part B deductible (currently $203). From there, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for covered medical services. Many Medicare consumers purchase a Medicare supplement insurance policy — a Medigap policy — that covers copays and fills in other shortfalls.

Read: Depression is not a normal part of the aging process. How to treat and prevent it

If you choose Medicare Advantage, you join a managed care network — an HMO or PPO — so read your “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” to provide a plan overview. Before choosing a mental health professional, confirm that the provider is in your network.

Knowing in advance what Medicare covers can help when you’re struggling with mental health issues and looking for providers. For example, grieving widows may not realize that Medicare covers counseling.

Only 15% of widowed Medicare beneficiaries receive Medicare-covered mental health services after the death of a spouse, according to a new survey of 400 seniors widowed by And 1 in 5 widowed beneficiaries avoid therapy or other mental health services because of the expected costs or because they did not know Medicare covers these services.

“A lot of people don’t know that grief counseling is available to them through Medicare,” says Roberts. It’s one reason she urges all Medicare beneficiaries to get a free annual wellness exam, which includes screening for a range of medical problems like depression and cognitive decline.

Based on the results of this visit, your healthcare provider can identify physical or mental health concerns — and recommend that you seek out a specialist for additional care. .

Christian Worstell, a licensed insurance agent with “When you lose a loved one, the last thing on your mind is your Medicare benefits. But grief can manifest over time. It can come in a year or two or three years later and show itself”, so annual health checks can play an important role in identifying health problems before they occur. stronger development.

As long as you know that Medicare covers mental health counseling — and you’re willing to try it — the next step is to approach the process with the right attitude. Seniors who have never turned to mental health professionals may not feel comfortable being open about their feelings.

“You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable,” says Worstell. “There will be nothing [therapists] surprise. They heard it all.” | Medicare covers hospital care and doctor visits. But did you know it also includes grief counseling and depression screening?


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