Does medicare cover outpatient mental health services?

Medicare recognizes the importance of mental health as a crucial aspect of overall well-being. As a federal health insurance program, it covers a range of mental health services, including those offered on an outpatient basis. However, the specifics of what is covered can vary based on the particular Medicare plan you have.

Join the Connect Program in NYC today!

Does medicare cover outpatient mental health services

The Coverage Details

Medicare typically covers outpatient mental health services, which include counseling, therapy, psychiatric evaluations, and certain prescription medications. These services are covered under Part B (Medical Insurance) of Medicare. This part of Medicare covers outpatient care, including doctor visits, lab tests, and preventive services.

What Services Are Included?

  1. Psychiatric Evaluation: Medicare covers psychiatric evaluations, including diagnostic tests and assessments.
  2. Outpatient Therapy: Individual and group therapy sessions are typically covered.
  3. Medication Management: Consultations for managing medications prescribed for mental health conditions.
  4. Partial Hospitalization Programs: Intensive outpatient treatment programs are often covered, provided certain conditions are met.

Understanding Costs and Limitations

While Medicare does cover outpatient mental health services, there are associated costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. It’s crucial to understand these costs to avoid unexpected expenses. Additionally, Medicare may have limits on certain types of therapy or the number of sessions covered.

Accessing Services: Steps to Take

To access outpatient mental health services under Medicare:

  1. Find a Medicare-approved provider: This ensures that the services will be covered.
  2. Understand the referral process: Some services might require a referral from a primary care physician.
  3. Keep track of your expenses: This is important for budgeting and for understanding your out-of-pocket costs.

Additional Coverage with Medicare Advantage

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), you may have additional mental health benefits. These plans are offered by private companies approved by Medicare and often include more comprehensive mental health services.

Addressing Common Misunderstandings

It’s a common misconception that Medicare only covers physical health issues. However, mental health is an integral part of its coverage. Understanding this can help you fully utilize the benefits available to you.

Seeking Assistance

If you’re facing challenges in understanding or accessing your mental health coverage under Medicare, there are resources available. provides detailed information, and local health insurance counselors can offer personalized assistance.


In summary, Medicare does cover outpatient mental health services, but it’s essential to understand the specifics of your coverage, including costs, limitations, and the process for accessing services. By familiarizing yourself with these details, you can effectively use your Medicare benefits to support your mental health needs.