A Guide to Mental Health Coverage

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From August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with anxiety or depressive disorders increased from 36.4% to 41.5%. According to research published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the alarming rise of mental health problems remains closely associated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the increase of premiums for Parts A and B, several benefits transpired added as well. We previously discussed the key differences between the two parts here on Bobby Brock Insurance. Today, we will discuss why Part B is best if you’re interested in preventative care and office visits, counseling, or therapy. Developments in Medicare plans may be able to help.

Preventative care for Mental Health Coverage

Diagnostic tests and screenings are essential to identify patients at risk of mental health problems and provide them with the necessary treatment.

Medicare Part B includes preventative services that assess your risk towards certain medical health conditions through an annual depression screening, alcohol misuse screening, and a free annual wellness visit to evaluate your physical and mental health.

Outpatient visits

Medicare Part B covers most outpatient mental health services, such as visits with psychiatrists and other professionals managing mental health. As health services are now transpiring online, it’s essential to connect with many professionals. That includes clinical psychologists, social workers, clinical nurse specialists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

Even healthcare education has shifted to tele-arrangements, allowing practitioners flexibility to pursue specialization opportunities in in-demand fields like mental health. In a journal article on the Introduction to the Online Nursing Education Best Practices Guide, the researchers discuss how the rising nursing shortage can occur assuaged by the number of online nursing education programs offered in the US.

As mentioned on Maryville University’s online post master’s NP certification page, nursing practitioners will need specialized training to diagnose, treat, and improve mental health conditions. Clinical nursing specialists, for one, benefit significantly from remote learning. These certification programs equip them with the latest knowledge and clinical skills to help patients cope with mental health disorders.

Licensed health professionals who accept the Medicare assignment can provide counseling services, individual therapy, group therapy, alcohol abuse counseling (up to four sessions), and family counseling (if it can improve the existing condition).

Inpatient care

If your condition requires an inpatient stay, Medicare Part B will cover all provider-based services with a 20% coinsurance. Part B also provides an alternative to inpatient psychiatric care: partial hospitalization.

Partial hospitalization is a structured program that is more intense than what you’d receive at a therapist’s office, but you won’t need to stay overnight for treatment. You would receive occupational therapy, individual patient training, and education on your condition.

Senior woman reading leaflet for Mental Health and elderly man holding his Prescription drugs.
Some doctors prescribe medication to treat certain mental health conditions.

Prescription drugs

Some doctors prescribe medication to treat certain mental health conditions. Medicare Part B has limited prescription drug coverage for specific prescriptions and medications that cannot be self-administered, such as drugs given through injections. For the most part, however, beneficiaries with the Original Medicare should enroll in a separate Part D prescription drug plan.

Antipsychotic, antidepressant, and anticonvulsant drugs are in protected classes. Although all Part D plans are required to cover essential medications for mental health treatment, the American Psychiatric Association’s page on Medicare Part D highly recommends checking if your medicine. To see if it remains included in your Prescription Drug Plan — which would have its list of covered drugs.

Rachel James wrote the article.
Exclusively for bobbybrockinsurance.com and the Bobby Brock Insurance

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Justin Brock

President & CEO of Bobby Brock Insurance