Medicare Part B covers outpatient mental health care, including the following services:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Tests to make sure you are getting the right care
  • Occupational therapy
  • Activity therapies, such as art, dance, or music therapy
  • Training and education (such as training on how to inject a needed medication or education about your condition)
  • Family counseling to help with your treatment
  • Laboratory tests
  • Prescription drugs that you cannot administer yourself, such as injections that a doctor must give you
  • An annual depression screening. Speak to your primary care provider for more information

Original Medicare covers the outpatient mental health services listed above at 80% of the Medicare-approved amount. This means that as long as you receive services from a participating provider, you will pay a 20% coinsurance after you meet your Part B deductible. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, contact your plan for cost and coverage information for mental health services. Your plan’s deductibles and copayments/coinsurance may apply.

Medicare covers mental health care you receive through an outpatient hospital program, at a doctor’s or therapist’s office, or at a clinic. You may receive services from the following types of providers:

  • General practitioners
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physicians’ assistants
  • Psychiatrists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Clinical social workers
  • Clinical nurse specialists

If you see a non-medical doctor (such as a psychologist or clinical social worker), make sure that your provider is Medicare-certified and takes assignment. Medicare will only pay for the services of non-medical doctors if they take assignment.

Note: Psychiatrists are more likely than any other type of provider to opt out of Medicare. Be sure to ask any provider if they take your Medicare insurance before you begin receiving services. Remember, if you see an opt-out provider, they must have you sign a private contract. The contract states that your doctor does not take Medicare and you must pay the full cost of the service yourself. Medicare will not reimburse you if you see an opt-out provider. If your provider does not have you sign a contract, you are not responsible for the cost of care.

To save money, only use doctors who take assignment.