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Medicare and Depression: How You Can Get the Help You Need

Depression and MedicareĀ 

No one anticipates depression, particularly as a senior following an accident or injury. It is debilitating, and the symptoms can affect the mind as well as the body. Here is what you need to know when to seek support through Medicare.

Part A Coverage

Medicare coverage can be difficult to navigate. This is especially so as we make the journey to recovery from a personal injury or an accident. You may be aware that Part A and Part B cover different aspects of healthcare. Part A provides hospital coverage, whereas Part B gives outpatient support. Unfortunately, Part A will only be beneficial in severe cases. If your condition is poor enough, your doctor may suggest hospitalization. During your stay, you will receive therapy, testing, and whatever medication is needed for treatment. Unfortunately, the time you can stay without paying out of pocket is limited. Over the course of your life, you will have just over six months before you need to worry about payments. Thankfully, Part B extends coverage.

Part B Coverage

As mentioned, Medicare Part B provides outpatient care. If you are suffering the after-effects from an injury or anĀ auto accident, consider adding Part B to your policy. With this option, you use mental health caregivers such as counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, and clinical psychologists. These are important services that you should factor into your planning when choosing coverage. Your evaluations are also included, so you don’t need to worry about paying for a diagnosis. Depending on your plan, your copay is as little as 20 percent of the negotiated amount for treatment. Typically, this is with a deductible of less than $200. If you don’t feel comfortable in individual therapy, you may be able to participate in certified group therapy. The fact is that you have options with Part B. If one form of therapy does not help, another may.

Finding Professionals Who Accept Medicare

Finding the right treatment should never be burdensome. If you’re having a difficult time locating a psychiatrist or therapist who takes Medicare, use an online directory. Fortunately, most individuals who were surveyed stated they had no trouble finding a physician. While the directory is comprehensive, you may prefer going through the Medicare website. Specialists are even easier to find than a general care doctor, so don’t let that stand in your way.

Think Ahead

Not everyone elects to get Medicare Part B. This is a mistake, as waiting to apply can increase your payments substantially. Many Americans believe that there is an age requirement paired with Social Security. Rather, you have three months before you turn 65, and then three months after, to apply for the discounted Part B rate. If you still have insurance through work, the same regulations are not applicable. Instead, you have eight months after you lose that coverage to apply. Don’t wait. You risk an increase by 10 percent every year you don’t apply. While Part B is not free, it is worth purchasing. Private healthcare becomes increasingly unaffordable, and Part B is the best solution. No one predicts an accident or injury, nor do they anticipate the impact on our mental health and well-being. Get affordable coverage to keep yourself safe.

The Consequences

Depression may not seem like a real disease to you, but it very much is. And like any illness, it needs professional treatment. Unfortunately, there is a stigma around mental health issues in our country, and we may have internalized this. Yet, sometimes, an accident or injury can take its emotional toll. In the past, you may have been able to overcome troubles on your own. Depression is different, as it’s a chemical imbalance with many contributing factors. You cannot tell yourself it’s your imagination and purge these dark feelings. Remember, mental illness is not a personal failing. This is a real issue many of us face, and we don’t need to do so alone.

These conditions should never be taken lightly. They impact every area of our lives and suck the joy from our days. You don’t have to tolerate feeling this way, so get the help you need.

Watch YouTube Video: Medicare & You: Mental Health Benefits. The video below provides an overview of Medicare-covered benefits for those with mental health issues.

About the Author

June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is the author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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