- Both original Medicare (parts A and B) and Medicare Advantage (Part C) cover mental health services, including those needed for grief counseling.
- Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health services, while Medicare Part B covers outpatient mental health services and partial hospitalization programs.
- Medicare covers depression screenings, individual and group psychotherapy, medication management, and more.
Grief counseling, or bereavement counseling, is a mental health service that can benefit many people who are struggling through the grieving process.
Medicare covers most mental health services related to grief counseling for beneficiaries. These services may include:
- inpatient mental health services
- outpatient mental health services
- partial hospitalization
In this article, we’ll explore Medicare’s coverage of grief counseling, as well as other Medicare-covered mental health services you may need during the grieving process.
Medicare covers a wide range of mental health services related to grief counseling.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health services, while Medicare Part B covers outpatient and partial hospitalization mental health services.
Under Medicare, you’re covered for the following grief counseling services, if needed:
- family counseling
- group psychotherapy
- individual psychotherapy
- lab and diagnostic testing
- medication management
- partial hospitalization
- psychiatric evaluations
- yearly depression screenings
A doctor or mental health professional can help you determine which grief counseling services you’d benefit from the most.
Once you’re ready to move forward with grief counseling, you can receive services from the following Medicare-approved providers:
- clinical psychologists
- clinical social workers
- clinical nurse specialists
- nurse practitioners
- physician assistants
- certified nurse-midwives
Medicare parts A and B cover the majority of grief counseling mental health services. Other parts of Medicare, however, offer additional coverage for medication and out-of-pocket costs.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of how Medicare covers the various mental health services for grief counseling.
If you’re admitted to the hospital and require inpatient mental health services, you’ll be covered under Medicare Part A.
Part A will cover inpatient grief counseling services in either a general hospital or a psychiatric hospital. If your mental health services are administered in a psychiatric hospital, however, you’re covered for only up to 190 days.
If you require outpatient mental health services or partial hospitalization, you’ll be covered under Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B will cover outpatient grief counseling services, such as:
- individual and group psychotherapy
- medication management
- psychiatric evaluations
You may receive these services in a doctor’s office, healthcare provider’s office, hospital outpatient department, or community mental health center.
Part B will also cover partial hospitalization for grief counseling, which involves intensive daily therapy and counseling. However, Medicare covers only partial hospitalization programs provided through a community mental health center or hospital outpatient department.
Part C (Medicare Advantage)
Any mental health services covered under Medicare parts A and B will also be covered under Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage).
Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer prescription drug coverage. If you and your doctor have decided you’d benefit from antidepressants or other medications during grief counseling, your Advantage plan may cover them.
If you require antidepressants or other prescription drugs as part of your mental health treatment, Medicare Part D will cover them.
Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants are all covered under Medicare Part D.
Additional drugs used during treatment may be covered by your Part D plan. But make sure to check your drug plan’s formulary (a list of covered medications) for more information on what is and isn’t covered.
Medicare supplement (Medigap)
If you need help paying some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with your mental health services, a Medigap plan can help.
Medigap is supplemental Medicare insurance that helps cover various costs associated with original Medicare (parts A and B). This includes Part A and Part B:
Some Medigap plans also cover excess charges and costs you may experience during foreign travel.
Before you purchase a Medigap plan, you’ll want to compare your coverage options to determine whether adding a Medigap policy is worth it.
Medicare covers any medically necessary services related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions — including mental health conditions.
Below, you’ll find some of the requirements for receiving grief counseling services under your Medicare plan.
You don’t have to meet any specific eligibility requirements for grief counseling services under Medicare.
Instead, you and your team of healthcare professionals will determine what mental health services you may need during the grieving process. These services may include counseling and group therapy appointments, short-term antidepressants, and in some cases, partial or full hospitalization.
Medicare generally covers all mental health services as long as the provider is an approved participating provider.
Participating providers are those that accept Medicare assignment. This means they’ve contracted with Medicare to provide services to you as a beneficiary at a Medicare-approved rate.
Plenty of Medicare-approved mental health providers accept Medicare assignment. If you’re not sure, however, you can always double-check with them (and your plan) first.
Finding help when you’ve had a loss
Grief is a personal, yet collective, experience that all of us will live through in our lifetime.
While the grieving process is incredibly hard, you don’t have to go through it alone. Here are some resources for finding professional help when you’re grieving:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is a national mental health resource with a 24/7 helpline that can be used to find grief support services in your area.
- American Counseling Association (ACA). The ACA has a full page dedicated to articles, journals, and other specific resources for people who are grieving.
- GriefShare. GriefShare is an organization that hosts weekly grief support groups around the nation. Its website has a find a group tool to help you locate groups in your area.
You can also reach out to your Medicare plan directly to find a therapist or other mental health professional who specialize in grief counseling in your area.
Grief counseling, also called bereavement counseling, can help guide people through the grieving process. While grief counseling is often related to the loss of a loved one, people can also grieve over other big life changes, such as the loss of a relationship or job.
Grief counseling can involve services such as:
- individual counseling services
- group counseling services
- grief support groups
- community outreach programs
- home visits and check-ins
- medication, when necessary
No matter which treatment route you choose, working with a mental health professional can help you get the support you need during the grieving process.
Even if you’re covered for mental health services under your Medicare plan, you may still need to pay some out-of-pocket costs associated with your care.
These costs may include:
- Part A premium of up to $458 per month
- Part A deductible of $1,408 per benefits period
- Part A coinsurance of $352 or more per day after 60 days
- Part B premium of $144.60 or more per month
- Part B deductible of $198 per year
- Part B coinsurance of 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount
- Part C premium, deductible, drug premium, and drug deductible
- Part D premium and deductible
- Medigap premium
Part C, Part D, and Medigap costs depend on the type of plan and coverage your plan offers, among other factors.
If you don’t have Medicare coverage or any other healthcare coverage, you’ll have to pay all out-of-pocket costs for your grief counseling.
According to Thervo, grief counseling can average up to $150 per session. In addition, individual therapy sessions can cost between $70 and $150 per session, while group therapy averages around $30 to $80 per session.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find low- or no-cost grief counseling groups in your area. Reach out to your local department of health for more information on potential groups near you.
- For Medicare beneficiaries, most services related to grief counseling — including individual therapy, group therapy, and more — are covered under original Medicare (parts A and B) and Medicare Advantage (Part C).
- Adding a Medicare prescription drug plan and, in some cases, a Medigap plan can offer further coverage and payment help for grief counseling–related services and expenses.
- If you need grief counseling or any other mental health services, the first step is to reach out to your healthcare provider. They can direct you to a mental health professional, who can help you get the support you need.
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