Medicare Mental Health Coverage | Examination and Prescription

Medicare Mental Health Coverage – Overview

Medicare is a health insurance program offered by the US federal government to citizens over 65 years. It is also available to individuals below 65 years who have specific medical conditions.

Medicare provides insurance coverage for mental health therapy and other types of mental healthcare needs.

Medicare Part A covers the cost of hospital stays, Medicare Part B covers the cost of doctor visits and hospital day programs, and Medicare Part D can help pay for medications.

In this article, we shall see the kind of Medicare mental health coverage you can expect and its out-of-pocket costs.

Mental Healthcare in the US

Mental health is a person’s emotional, social and mental well-being. These functions affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.

These may include the person’s social interaction skills and stress levels.

Mental well-being is important at every point in life. At times, life events may trigger emotional and physical responses. Some of these triggers include:

  • Retiring from a job
  • Loss of job
  • Grief
  • Getting bullied
  • Experiencing violence
  • Isolation/loneliness

Other factors that can affect a person’s mental health include:

  • Sleeping habits
  • Family history
  • Biology
  • Nutrition
  • Overall physical health

In 2021, it was estimated that 57.8 million U.S. adults aged 18 and over had Any Mental Illness (AMI), constituting 22.8% of the adult population in the United States.

This could easily increase the prevalence of mental conditions in America.

Some early signs that denote the development of mental health issues may include:

  • Low energy levels
  • Aggressive behavior (yelling, fighting, etc.)
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Excessive or insufficient sleep
  • Thoughts of self-harm or violence
  • Smoking, drinking or using recreational drugs excessively
  • Unexplained pains and aches

Medicare and Mental Health Coverage

Medicare offers a Welcome to Medicare preventive visit to every new enrollee. During this visit, the doctor checks for signs of depression, among other things.

The annual wellness visits offered by Medicare are excellent to discuss any changes in mental health since the last visit with the doctor.

Besides wellness visits, Medicare also covers the cost of several mental health services.

Medicare Part A and Mental Health Coverage

Medicare Part A covers the cost of inpatient care at a general or psychiatric hospital. In this situation, Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health care in a psychiatric hospital limited to 190 days in a lifetime. Still, it does not cover all eligible costs, as deductibles and coinsurance may apply.

However, the number of benefit periods for mental health care at a general hospital is not restricted.

Medicare Part B and Mental Health Coverage

Medicare Part B covers annual depression screening in a primary care setting where follow-up care and referrals can be provided. To ensure proper follow-up care, this screening should be held at a primary care doctor’s office.

Medicare Part B also covers the cost of individual or group therapy by a state-licensed expert. Family therapy is also covered if it helps with the patient’s treatment.

Medicare Part B covers these mental healthcare service costs when the services are provided by a:

  • Clinical social workers
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Psychiatrist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician Assistant
  • Clinical nurse specialist

The different types of healthcare services covered under Medicare Part B include:

  • Diagnostic tests
  • Test to evaluate the effectiveness of the current treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Prescribed medication from a doctor
  • Evaluation and prescription drug follow-up visits

Partial hospitalization is an organized day program and an alternative to inpatient care. The treatment during partial hospitalization is more intensive than a weekly visit.

Medicare might not cover the cost of partial hospitalization at a community health center unless the community center adheres to certain rules.

For instance, the community health center should offer round-the-clock emergency care and clinical evaluation.

Medicare covers partial hospitalization program services under Part B, but it does not cover meals, transportation, or services not directly related to treatment like job skills training.

Medicare Part D is required for coverage of most outpatient prescription drugs. Part B may cover certain medications administered in a doctor’s office or hospital outpatient setting. However, Medicare Part D covers the cost of such medications.

Exclusions in Medicare for Mental Health Coverage

Some of the mental healthcare services which are not covered under Medicare include:

  • Marriage counseling
  • Biofeedback
  • Adult-day health programs
  • Environmental modifications
  • Pastoral counseling
  • Preparing reports
  • Schizophrenia hemodialysis
  • Explaining data or results
  • Phone application or service
  • Transport and meal expenses

Out-of-Pocket Costs for Mental Health Coverage Under Medicare

Some of the common out-of-pocket costs you should be ready to pay for mental health coverage under Medicare Part A include:

  • US$ 1,632 deductible for every benefit period
  • 20% coinsurance for approved costs
  • Copayments are 20% of the approved amount as of 2024.

Medicare provides 60 lifetime reserve days for inpatient hospital stays, which can be used after the first 90 days of inpatient hospital care within a benefit period. Under Medicare Part B you will need to pay for diagnosis and treatment costs.

Once the Medicare Part B deductible is met, you must pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. This Medicare Part B deductible changes every year.


Medicare Part A covers the cost of hospitalization for mental healthcare. Medicare Part B pays for therapy and partial hospitalization costs.

Medicare also covers annual mental health screening from a Medicare-approved expert.

Original Medicare does not cover the cost of meals, transport, and several prescription drugs used in mental health treatments.

You should enroll in Medicare Part D to cover the cost of prescription drugs.

See Also

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Current Version
August 15, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
March 24, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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