Your Medicare Coverage
Is my test, item, or service covered?
Mental health care (outpatient)
How often is it covered?
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers mental health services and visits with these types of health professionals:
- Psychiatrist or other doctor
- Clinical psychologist
- Clinical social worker
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse practitioner
- Physician assistant
Medicare only covers these visits, often called counseling or therapy, when they’re provided by a health care provider who accepts assignment.
Part B covers outpatient mental health services, including services that are usually provided outside a hospital (like in a clinic, doctor’s office, or therapist’s office) and services provided in a hospital’s outpatient department. Part B also covers outpatient mental health services for treatment of inappropriate alcohol and drug use. Part B helps pay for these covered outpatient services:
- One depression screening per year. The screening must be done in a primary care doctor’s office or primary care clinic that can provide follow-up treatment and referrals.
- Individual and group psychotherapy with doctors or certain other licensed professionals allowed by the state where you get the services.
- Family counseling, if the main purpose is to help with your treatment.
- Testing to find out if you’re getting the services you need and if your current treatment is helping you.
- Psychiatric evaluation.
- Medication management.
- Certain prescription drugs that aren’t usually “self administered”(drugs you would normally take on your own), like some injections.
- Diagnostic tests.
- Partial hospitalization.
- A one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. This visit includes a review of your potential risk factors for depression.
- A yearly “Wellness” visit. This is a good time to talk to your doctor or other health care provider about changes in your mental health so they can evaluate your changes year to year.
All people with Part B are covered.
Your costs in Original Medicare
- You pay nothing for your yearly depression screening if your doctor or health care provider accepts assignment.
- 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for visits to a doctor or other health care provider to diagnose or treat your condition. The Part B deductible applies.
- If you get your services in a hospital outpatient clinic or hospital outpatient department, you may have to pay an additional copayment or coinsurance amount to the hospital. This amount will vary depending on the service provided, but will be between 20-40% of the Medicare-approved amount.
To find out how much your specific test, item, or service will cost, talk to your doctor or other health care provider. The specific amount you’ll owe may depend on several things, like other insurance you may have, how much your doctor charges, whether your doctor accepts assignment, the type of facility, and the location where you get your test, item, or service.
Your doctor or other health care provider may recommend you get services more often than Medicare covers. Or, they may recommend services that Medicare doesn’t cover. If this happens, you may have to pay some or all of the costs. It’s important to ask questions so you understand why your doctor is recommending certain services and whether Medicare will pay for them.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). TTY users should call 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889). You can call and speak with a counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call 911 if you're in immediate medical crisis.