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Does Medicare pay for mental health therapy

Mar 22, 2001

Mr. Shernoff,

I have been HIV+ for fifteen years. I have had full blown AIDS for six years. For the first time in fourteen years I feel like I need a proffessional to help talk me through my fears and anxieties. My Blue Cross and Blue Shield covers a minimum ammount for this. I have Medicare as well. Do you know if Medicare would cover the cost of a therapist?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Medicare does pay for psychotherapy but only in one of two different settings. If you see a mental health professional in a licensed clinic then medicare will pay for it. If you see a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker in private practice then he or she must be a registered medicare provider in order for their services to be covered.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

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