Americans on Medicare now get better access to mental health care. Here’s how

February 02, 2024

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


People with the federal health insurance Medicare now have more access to mental health treatment. As of January 1, Medicare will cover sessions with licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists. According to the American Counseling Association, these clinicians make up about 40% of all master’s level therapists in the U.S. This expanded coverage will benefit older adults and people with chronic disabilities, especially those living in areas with limited access to services, said Victoria Kress, a Youngstown State University professor and licensed professional counselor. “So, 18% of Americans receive Medicare, and they’re going to overnight have access to so many more providers,” said Kress. “So, it’s really exciting, particularly when you think about the rural areas, where one in three people receive Medicare services, and there’s such a severe shortage of providers, it’s really going to be helpful to them.” Kress added that the change will help increase access to addiction services as well.

Spark Extra! Find resources for preventing suicide among older adults.