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does Medicare cover grief counseling

Does Medicare Cover Grief Counseling?

In life, it is normal for a person to experience sadness or grief, especially when they lose something or someone they love. Thankfully, mental health awareness is now increasing and help and support are being provided for people who need it. 

If you or a loved one are in need of this kind of help, a common question is “does Medicare cover grief counseling?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of grief counseling and more.

Does Medicare Cover Grief Counseling?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of grief counseling and other mental health services to overcome grief. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your grief counseling. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for grief counseling and other mental health services. Parts A and B provide the following mental health services that can help in overcoming grief such as:

  • Family counseling
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Lab tests
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Medication management
  • Annual depression screenings

Coverage for grief counseling services is provided by Medicare Part A if it takes place in an inpatient setting. Medicare Part A provides coverage for grief counseling services that take place in a general hospital or a psychiatric hospital. Medicare Part A will provide coverage for up to 190 days of grief counseling in a psychiatric hospital. 

On the other hand, Medicare Part B provides coverage for grief counseling services that take place in an outpatient setting. Even though coverage for hospitalization is provided by Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B will provide coverage for partial hospitalization for grief counseling services. Grief counseling services that are covered by Medicare Part B include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Medication management

Medicare Part B also has a program called yearly wellness visits which includes depression screenings. Medicare Part B covers 100 percent of the costs of yearly wellness visits if your healthcare provider accepts Medicare assignment. 

Part C and Part D Coverage for Grief Counseling

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for grief counseling. Part C plans have to cover the same benefits that Original Medicare covers. But Part C plans often offer additional benefits as well. What those benefits are and how much they cost will vary from plan to plan.

Part C plans that include prescription drug plans will also provide coverage for medications that your healthcare provider will prescribe to you such as antidepressants.

Medicare Part D plans provide coverage for mental health medications such as antidepressants. Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan, and just like Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D plans are provided by private insurance companies.

How Much Does Grief Counseling Cost?

The average cost of grief counseling is about $100 per session. This varies depending on the provider.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover hernia repair?

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