Around 20% of Americans deal with a mental illness, and 1 in 20 deal with a serious one. If you are going through a mental disorder, no matter what it is, you should seek outpatient psychiatric care. Doing so can give you the resources to cope with your mental illness so that you can better manage it daily. In the long term, psychiatric care can even help you mitigate the effects of mental illness, helping you live a more stable and fulfilling life.

Countless mental health providers are available to help, but many people avoid getting help because of the cost. Medicare for outpatient psychiatric care is an option available to many. Learn more about how Medicare can help you get the outpatient care you need.

What Medicare for Outpatient Psychiatric Care Covers

Medicare for outpatient psychiatric care wasn’t always an option. It wasn’t until 2008 that Congress signed a bill to reduce copayment from 50% down to 20% of outpatient costs. There are several aspects to Medicare (Part A-D), but the one that concerns outpatient mental health care is Part B.

Part B covers everything concerning outpatient mental health care, including therapy visits and any other type of primary care provider. On top of that, you get one free depression screening each year through Medicare, along with a one-time preventative visit when you first get Medicare and an annual wellness visit with your doctor. Diagnostic tests, group counseling, medication management, and psychiatric evaluations are also covered under Medicare.

If you need more intensive care from a mental health center, Medicare Part B will also cover partial hospitalization. There are some requirements for this, such as a doctor’s referral.

Purchasing Additional Coverage

As mentioned, Medicare covers 80% of everything we discussed above. All you have to pay is your monthly premiums, then 20% of the quoted cost of the care. You can purchase additional coverage under Medicare Plans C and D, which vary in cost depending on the type of coverage that you need.

For instance, Plan C (“Medicare Advantage”) includes everything that comes with Plan A and B, including things like fitness center memberships and other wellness needs. Plan D gets you prescription drug coverage which can be beneficial if you’re prescribed anti-depressants for an extended time.

The Importance of a Medicare Health Provider

To use Medicare benefits, you need to find participating mental health providers, which isn’t always as easy as it might sound. Roughly 90% of physicians accept Medicare compared to just 60% of psychiatrists. If you choose a mental health provider that doesn’t accept Medicare, you’ll either be refused or made to foot the entire bill. For this reason, it’s vital to find out beforehand if they accept Medicare.

At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, our mental health and substance abuse programs are in network with numerous Medicare providers. It’s essential for our patients to know that Medicare for substance abuse and mental health is an option. We offer a wide range of programs to help you work through your issues. Whether you need inpatient substance abuse rehab or outpatient mental health care, we have the expertise and facilities to put you on a better path.

Step-By-Step Guide for Enrolling In Medicare

So, how do you enroll in Medicare? Medicare is a service for seniors only, so you can only enroll if you’re over 65. That said, there are exceptions for those under 65 who have disabilities. Medicare currently covers over 9 million people with disabilities under the age of 65.

For those approaching 65, you’ll enter an initial enrollment period (IEP) starting three months before your 65th birthday. IEP lasts until three months after your birthday. It’s the best time to sign up for Medicare because it prevents you from experiencing any delays or gaps in coverage.

There are three ways to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. You can apply online through the Social Security Administration website, call the SSA, or apply in person at a social security office. You’ll need a few pieces of ID, including your birth certificate, license, and proof of US citizenship. Additional documentation might include a social security card, your W-2, and any information about current health insurance policies.

With the documentation ready, you simply fill out the SSA application and wait for approval. You can sign up for a account and check on the status of your application. It generally takes 30-60 days for an application to go through. Once you get your card in the mail, show it to the participating healthcare provider, and you’ll get the benefits. The card will state the type of Medicare you have, but if you opt for a drug plan or any other supplemental coverage, you’ll need to bring that card with you as well.

Get the Mental Health Help You Need

If you’re over 65, using Medicare for outpatient psychiatric care is a great solution. As long as you find a mental health provider that accepts it, you can get all the therapy, medication, and other wellness treatment you need at a fraction of the cost. We know how tricky it can be to find the right outpatient facility, let alone one that accepts Medicare, and that’s why we’re always making strides to be more inclusive to those that need our help. We proudly accept Medicare from a variety of insurers, which you can learn more about on our site.

The most important thing is getting the treatment you need. Contact us today to get started and have your mental health cared for like never before.