Mental health care (outpatient)

Medicare?  Under 65?  Employer Group?

How and how often is it covered?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers mental health services and visits with these types of health professionals:

  • Psychiatrist or other doctor
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Clinical social worker
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant

Medicare only covers these visits, often called counseling or therapy, when they’re provided by a health care provider who accepts assignment.  Search provider list.

Part B covers outpatient mental health services, including services that are usually provided outside a hospital, like in these settings:

  • A doctor’s or other health care provider’s office
  • A hospital outpatient department
  • A community mental health center

Part B also covers outpatient mental health services for treatment of inappropriate alcohol and drug use.

Part B helps pay for these covered outpatient services:

  • One depression screening per year. The screening must be done in a primary care doctor’s office or primary care clinic that can provide follow-up treatment and referrals.
  • Individual and group psychotherapy with doctors or certain other licensed professionals allowed by the state where you get the services.
  • Family counseling, if the main purpose is to help with your treatment.
  • Testing to find out if you’re getting the services you need and if your current treatment is helping you.
  • Psychiatric evaluation.
  • Medication management.
  • Certain prescription drugs that aren’t usually “self administered”(drugs you would normally take on your own), like some injections.
  • Diagnostic tests.
  • Partial hospitalization.
  • A one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. This visit includes a review of your potential risk factors for depression.
  • yearly “Wellness” visit. This is a good time to talk to your doctor or other health care provider about changes in your mental health so they can evaluate your changes year to year.


Who’s eligible?

All people with Part B are covered.

Your costs in Original Medicare

  • You pay nothing for your yearly depression screening if your doctor or health care provider accepts assignment.
  • 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for visits to a doctor or other health care provider to diagnose or treat your condition. The Part B deductible applies.
  • If you get your services in a hospital outpatient clinic or hospital outpatient department, you may have to pay an additional copayment or coinsurance amount to the hospital.  Copied from Medicare.Gov

See our page on

Mental Health – ACA Obamacare

Special Needs Plans – Mental Health


#Find a Therapist

Magellan Assist
Mental Health Provider Finder

All Insurance Companies – Mental Health Provider Finder

Psychology Today - Find a Provider 


one estimate suggests 42% of therapists in California don’t accept insurance at all. Without the financial help of insurance, clients pay an average of $130 out of pocket per session. It can be much higher in major cities. Read more:  What's stopping therapists from providing affordable Mental Health Care?

Types & What is  of therapy - Beginners Guide  LA Times 12.23.2020

Google Search for ONLINE Therapists

Here’s what I googled for online therapists. Check with them and ask what Insurance Plans they take. Then double check on the official Insurance Company provider list.


Behavioral health integration services

If you have a behavioral health condition (like depression, anxiety, or another behavioral health condition), Medicare may pay for a health care provider’s help to manage that condition if your provider offers the Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model.


Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model

is a set of integrated behavioral health services that includes care management support if you have a behavioral health condition. This care management support may include care planning for

  • behavioral health conditions,
  • ongoing assessment of your condition,
  • medication support,
  • counseling,
  • or other treatments that your provider recommends.

Your health care provider will ask you to sign an agreement for you to get this set of services on a monthly basis. You pay a monthly fee, and the Part B deductible and coinsurance apply.

More Details & Limitations on Coverage

This article is intended for physicians, providers and suppliers submitting claims to Medicare contractors (carriers and/or Part A/B Medicare Administrative Contractors (A/B MACs) for mental health services provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

The Social Security Act (Section 1862(a)(1)(A)) excludes from coverage services that are not “reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member.

This booklet gives the following Medicare mental health services information:

Covered and non-covered mental health services

  • Eligible professionals
  • Eligible professionals commonly used Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes
  •  National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI)
  • Provider charts
  •  Assignment
  • Outpatient psychiatric hospital services
    • Family psychotherapy (with the patient present and their treatment is the primary purpose) or (without the patient present, is medically reasonable and necessary, and their treatment is the primary purpose)
    • Individual and group psychotherapy (individual therapy with one or more therapists and more than one individual in a therapy session with one or more therapists)
    • Psychoanalysis (therapy that treats mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements)
  •  Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  •  Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC)
  •  Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) services
  •  Inpatient Psychiatric Facility (IPF) services
  •  Medical records requirements
  •  Coverage period
  • Same day billing guidelines

#Individual Therapy

Introduction to Therapy – Los Angeles Times 12,23.2020 

Low cost alternatives to therapy 9.22.2021 

There are a lot of people suffering from a mental health condition who need therapy. And there are a lot of therapists who want to help them. But both sides believe the insurance companies that are supposed to bring them together are actually keeping them apart.  Nearly half of therapists in California don’t take insurance as reimbursement rates don’t provide a living wage,

Most insurance companies pay therapists in their networks between $60 and $80 per session. In the San Francisco area and Los Angeles, therapists say the market rate for therapy is more like $150 to $200 a session.

“The second thing is the paperwork. For an hour of psychotherapy you spend a half-hour on paperwork,   CA Health

Chabad on mental health control in your thought process relieving anxiety from biblical sources

12 #Step Meetings & Therapist Confidentiality


The Twelve Traditions encourage members to practice the spiritual principle of anonymity in the public media and members are also asked to respect each other’s confidentiality.[42] This is a group norm,[42] however, and not legally mandated; there are no legal consequences to discourage those attending twelve-step groups from revealing information disclosed during meetings.[43] Statutes on group therapy do not encompass those associations that lack a professional therapist or clergyman to whom confidentiality and privilege might apply. Professionals and paraprofessionals who refer patients to these groups, to avoid both civil liability and licensure problems, have been advised that they should alert their patients that, at any time, their statements made in meetings may be disclosed.[43]

Links & Resources

Shouse Law – Therapist-Patient Privilege Evidence Code 1014

CA Evidence Code Section 1014


Legislative Counsel Explanation

Specimen Policy #EOC with Definitions

It's often so much easier and simpler to just read your Evidence of Coverage EOC-policy, then look all over for the codes, laws, regulations etc!  Plus, EOC's are mandated to be written in PLAIN ENGLISH!

Specimen Policy with Definitions

Steve Explains how to read EOC

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