Taking care of your mental health is an important part of the self-care that comes with aging, and when you retire, you may be interested in obtaining professional support to help you manage your mental and emotional well-being.
As retirees consider whether to seek mental health support, many are sure to have questions about the costs associated with these services. So, does Medicare cover a therapist? It's important to note that, while Medicare does cover some mental health services and therapy costs for seniors, only certain expenses are covered under the program.
Why Explore Therapy/Mental Health Options?
While retirement is often a time to rest, relax and enjoy life, many seniors still face mental health stresses in retirement. Anxiety, depression or stress could result from situations such as:
- Adjusting to life in retirement after a long career.
- Adjusting to the physical changes of aging.
- Living on a newly fixed income.
- Grieving the loss of a loved one.
According to recent figures, almost one quarter (24%) of American adults aged 65 or older report feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression. Perhaps coincidentally, approximately one quarter of American seniors aged 65 or older live in social isolation. Living alone and retiring single means some seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health issues arising from social isolation.
Seniors may be able to prevent or even alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression by seeking professional help, engaging in physical exercise, spending time outdoors, meditating, following a balanced diet and taking part in regular social interaction with friends and family. Ensuring that you get the right care as you age can also help you maintain a positive mindset when you retire.
Does Medicare Cover a Therapist?
Medicare Part B generally covers medical costs such as certain doctor visits, outpatient care and medical supplies.
When it comes to mental health services, Medicare coverage includes outpatient therapy for mental health issues and counseling. Just make sure that the health care provider is aware of the patient's insurance and accepts the assignment. This coverage might also depend on whether the patient has additional insurance or coverage. For more information, visit Medicare.gov.
It's important to note that you might pay 20% of the cost of some treatments, such as visits to diagnose or treat a mental health condition. Other visits, such as depression screenings, are covered by Medicare 100%. Talk to your health care provider about coverage and costs before arranging treatment and/or appointments.
What Types of Coverage Are Available With Medicare?
The types of coverage available through Part B of the Medicare program are as follows:
- A "Welcome to Medicare" preventive visit that includes a review of depression risk factors.
- Annual depression screening.
- Annual "wellness visits."
- Individual/group psychotherapy, as permitted by your state.
- Family counseling.
- Treatment and diagnostic testing.
- Psychiatric evaluation.
- Medication management.
- Outpatient drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
Your mental health can greatly influence the quality of your life during retirement and should be a priority. If you need to seek professional help for depression, anxiety or other issues that can affect seniors, it's important to understand which costs can and cannot be paid for with Medicare coverage as you budget for your mental health care expenses.
If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or any other mental health stresses, don't delay seeking help. Contact your doctor immediately to get the care you need.