As of Jan. 1, 2014, for the first time since Medicare’s creation, seniors who seek psychological therapy are responsible for 20 percent of the bill while Medicare will pay 80 percent, the same percentage it covers for most medical services.
If you have not heard by now, as of January 1, a whole host of Obamacare provisions went into place. While we are really just beginning to parse them out, one change for elderly and Medicare beneficiaries that went into effect has been on the books since 2008 through the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. Medicare will now cover costs for psychological care to the same degree as physical medical costs at the 80/20 Medicare/Beneficiary split.
The New York Times - The New Old Age Blog took note of this change in a recent article aptly titled “Medicare to Cover More Mental Health Costs.” It seems psychological issues are often the most directly felt difficulties in the life and wellbeing of elderly Medicare beneficiaries. With the new change, the long-held gap in coverage between the costs for physical medicine and psychological care has now been closed. Consequently, more elderly beneficiaries will be able to afford the care that is uniquely suited to their own needs and happiness.
Nonetheless, a few sources of disparity between medical and psychological care for the elderly remain, as further noted in the original article.
Does this recent change affect an elderly loved one? If yes, be sure to help them seek appropriate mental healthcare.
Reference: The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog (December 27, 2013) “Medicare to Cover More Mental Health Costs”