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Medicare: Original Fee-For-Service

Original Fee-For-Service Medicare: Depression

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A serious medical condition is often accompanied by depression. Original Medicare covers the treatment of depression both by professionals and with medication. 


Medicare pays for treatment of depression and for other mental health services in individual and group therapy in a doctor's, psychologist's or social worker's office, a clinic or outpatient hospital programs.

Medicare also covers:

  • Family counseling to help with your treatment.
  • Activity therapies such as art, dance or music therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Prescription drugs that you cannot administer yourself, such as injections that a doctor must give you.
  • Treatment costs for a resident of a long-term-care facility who is suffering from depression. 

Medigap can pick up the costs of mental health care not covered by Medicare.

Nonmedical doctors such as psychologists and certified social workers must take "assignment" - they must accept Medicare's approved amount as payment in full.  Medical doctors, such as psychiatrists, do not have to take assignment. Depending on the law of the state in which you live, such doctors can charge you up to 15% above the Medicare approved rate.  


Virtually all brand name and generic drugs in the benzodiazepine category used to treat anxiety (among other uses) are available on the Part D drug formulary. The category includes medications such as Ativan, Valium, and Xanax. 


  • About Medicare coverage of depression: see the booklet: Medicare And Your Mental Health Benefits, available at offsite link.
  • About depression and practical tips for dealing with depression, click here.

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