Medicare providers to include therapist and counselors
November 06, 2023
As mental health issues become more prevalent, it seems that Medicare has adjusted: KFF Health News reports that for the first time, Medicare will be paying marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors for their services. The article notes: "For decades, Medicare has covered only services provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses. But with rising demand and many people willing to pay privately for care, 45% of psychiatrists and 54% of psychologists don't participate in the program. Citing low payments and bureaucratic hassles, more than 124,000 behavioral health practitioners have opted out of Medicare — the most of any medical specialty."
Given that the wider population (not just 65 and over) frequently sees therapists and mental health counselors for mental health treatment, it makes sense that Medicare would also pay for their services for the elderly population. As the article notes, it is unclear whether meaningful numbers of these types of providers will sign up. Nevertheless, this seems like a step in the right direction.