Medicare & Mental Health
The most common mental illness for those over 60 years old is depression. It impacts 6 million Americans but only 10% receive help. This illness may be due to various factors, such as declining health, loneliness, managing several health conditions, etc. Those who are aged 85+ hold the highest suicide rate out of all age groups. It is important to self-assess or look for signs in others. A few common signs of depression you can look for:
- Isolation: This is why many seniors don't get out of the house. Maybe they lost a loved one and are struggling with loneliness.
- Exhaustion: You can tell when someone is struggling if they aren't sleeping well and appear exhausted during the day.
- Changes in weight/appetite: If someone is drastically gaining or losing weight, this could be a sign of depression.
These signs are important to look for in others, as well yourself. If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help.
How does Medicare coordinate with mental health?
If you are enrolled in Medicare, you have several benefits for mental wellness. A few examples are preventive screenings, counseling, and treatment programs.
Preventive Screenings: These assist in identifying if you are at risk, which will allow treatment to be assigned. The following exams are covered by Medicare.
- Welcome to Medicare: This exam is the first year on Medicare screening which includes depression risks.
- Wellness: This visit is an annual appointment with your doctor, which can assist in getting proper treatment.
- Alcohol Misuse: This screening is covered by Medicare once a year, which determines if you need counseling for alcohol abuse.
- Depression: If your doctor accepts Medicare, you are allowed one annual depression screening to confirm if treatment is necessary.
Counseling: For outpatient care, such as therapy or clinic services, Medicare Part B will cover.
- Psychiatric Evaluations
- Individual or Group Therapy
- Alcohol Abuse: Medicare will cover 4 therapy sessions.
- Family Therapy: this is only covered if it assists in helping condition and must be through a licensed psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
- Medicare Part A covers general hospital and psychiatric services. Please note that psychiatric hospital care will only be covered up to 190 days in your lifetime.
- Medicare Part B: If you are admitted to a hospital as an inpatient, the doctor services will be covered by Part B.
- Medicare Part D: You will need to get a Prescription Drug Plan for medication coverage.
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