The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that more than 6.5 million Americans age 65 and over are affected by depression.1
Depression treatment options can include therapy, medication, counseling and even hospitalization. Medicare covers some depression treatments for qualified beneficiaries, such as preventive screenings and psychotherapy.
This guide details different treatment options for seniors, including some that are covered by Medicare as well as some options that older adults can pursue for themselves.
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Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers one depression screening in full per year. The screening must take place in a primary care setting such as a doctor’s office, and you will typically pay nothing as long as your doctor accepts Medicare assignment.
If depression is detected, a number of inpatient and outpatient treatment options are covered by Medicare. Your treatment plan will depend largely on what type of depression you have and its severity.
Depression treatment services that can be covered by Medicare include:
Medicare Part B will provide coverage for certain prescription drugs that are not typically “self-administered.” An injection is an example of a covered drug that is not self-administered.
In order to receive coverage for self-administered drugs such as oral pills, you may want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Part D plans provide coverage exclusively for prescription drugs, while Medicare Advantage plans can provide a variety of benefits not covered by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B).
Medicare Part D and certain Medicare Advantage plans can provide coverage for medications that are commonly prescribed to help treat depression.
There are some additional depression treatment options seniors can consider, though these options are not typically covered by Medicare.
Physical health ailments can sometimes lead to depression, so exercise that improves the body physically can also help prevent related depression.
Learn more about how a Medicare Advantage plan could help cover the costs of depression treatment options like prescription drug coverage, therapy and physical fitness organizations.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not healthcare advice. Speak to your doctor or healthcare provider about your specific healthcare needs.
1 Mental Health America. Depression in Older Adults: More Facts. Retrieved from www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-older-adults-more-facts
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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