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Improving Your Mental Health and Navigating Medicare

Mon, Dec 09, 2019 at 8:41PM

Improving Your Mental Health and Navigating Medicare

Physical and mental health should be monitored at all ages. Additionally, older adults who suffer from the symptoms of depression may feel they have no recourse. Thankfully, Medicare Part B can help seniors figure out how to take care of costs associated with treatment for mental health issues. Most people are unaware of the mental health services covered by Original Medicare, but that’s why we’ve researched the topic for you.


Depression in Older Adults

According to the National Institutes of Health, depression looks different in older adults. Depression isn’t associated with aging; instead, it’s a normal part of the lives of adults of all ages. Symptoms in senior citizens typically don’t look the same as in younger people. Older adults may feel tired or confused, so healthcare providers or close relatives may not understand the mental health issues causing these symptoms. Research shows that older adults are often improperly diagnosed, and they are often at risk of experiencing depression if they deal with physical conditions such as limited mobility, or serious conditions such as heart disease.

Depression is a mental health condition that can be treated. Thankfully, Medicare Part B can help senior citizens take better care of their mental health.


How Medicare B Helps

Medicare allows you to get an annual wellness check that tests your physical health as well as your memory and cognitive functions. You and your healthcare provider also come up with a five- to 10-year plan to prevent future health problems. Prepare yourself by asking questions and disclosing your mental health history and concerns. Let your doctor know about prescription medication you might be taking, including antidepressants, supplements, and vitamins.

Medicare Part B provides coverage for two basic types of services: those that are necessary from a medical standpoint and preventive medical care. Three bodies can affect the services available to you: private companies that have a say in your healthcare, state, and federal laws or regulations. As for mental health, Medicare Part B is comprehensive. Patients get one screening for depression annually in addition to their general wellness check; individual, group, or family counseling that could improve your condition is also covered.

Part B also covers medication that you may not be able to administer yourself, such as injections. The plan may also cover the medication you must take on your own, as well as any tests that can be used to better diagnose you.

Patients also receive a “Welcome to Medicare” visit. It is offered only once and looks at things that put you at risk for depression. This visit will look at your physical health, provide guidance on writing advanced directives, and additional counseling you may need for your overall health.

Plan B covers visits with various experts who can help you, including clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, or other doctors, and clinical nurse specialists. Partial hospitalization is also covered, and your Medicare Part B may also cover services you get outside of a hospital, such as services provided in community mental health centers, the office a health care provider or doctor, and/or outpatient programs in hospitals. The best way to find a doctor or psychiatrist that accepts Medicare is to use the service’s Physician Compare tool. If you’re new to the plan and already have a doctor, ask them if they accept Medicare.


Check Your Plan Annually

It’s important to check your entire Medicare plan every year. Rules and items covered by Medicare change annually. You need to know how adjustments to your plan could affect the cost of prescriptions and your ability to get generic medication. Keeping tabs on your plan will ensure you stay informed about things that may not be covered the next year.

Checking your plan also lets you talk to your healthcare provider about why you need certain types of coverage. If you anticipate needing mental health coverage, make sure your doctors will accept Medicare to facilitate your treatment.

Remember that depression is a complex and often-misunderstood health condition. Thankfully, Medicare Part B provides coverage that will enable you to find support.


Article courtesy of: 
Teresa Greenhill
Mentalhealthforseniors.com | teresa@mentalhealthforseniors.com


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