Medicare combats depression

The symptoms of clinical depression from medical standpoint have been known since ancient times. But some physicians health Plans are of the view that it was not until this year that the U.S. government took the steps needed to bring coverage for depression and other mental health disorders into the modern age.

For Medicare Plan, depression has taken over as a priority issue and it very soon will pay physicians for the early detection of this common illness. Medicare payment for mental health treatment, which for a long time meant a greater out-of-pocket burden on patients than treatment for physical disorders will soon be put at par with the other areas of coverage program.

In the U.S. every community comprises of patients suffering from depression, and majority of them are seniors. One in six persons older than 65 has this problem as per a recent Centers for Medicare insurance & Medicaid Services memo. There is a lot of variation in the rates of depression in the elderly among different regions of the country and population groups. A recent study of 2008 Medicare Supplement Guide claims has come to the conclusion that the Miami metropolitan area has the maximum diagnosis rate in the country, with depression affecting nearly 23% of beneficiaries.

Medicare Advantage Plan has constantly covered treatment of mental illness. Beginning from Jan. 1, 2012, the program also plans to encompass preventive screenings for depression and, in a separate policy proposal, alcohol misuse.

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