CMS Expands Behavioral Health (Mental Health) Medicare Benefits Starting In 2024
On November 2nd, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the finalization of policies designed to advance health equity. These policies have made changes in many service areas, including primary care, family caregiving, oral health care, and health care for underserved populations. However, some of the most significant changes, which will become policy at the beginning of 2024, are to behavioral health care. Behavioral health, as defined by CMS, “includes the emotions and behaviors that affect your overall well-being… sometimes called mental health and often includes substance use.” As such, CMS’s expansion of behavioral health care allowances will allow marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors, including those who specialize in various addictions, to enroll in Medicare as reimbursable providers. Additionally, providers who specialize in crisis care, substance use disorder treatment, and psychotherapy will receive increased payment.
What does this mean for your patients who are Medicare beneficiaries? They will soon have access to a network of comprehensive behavioral health care services, including marriage, family, and substance use counseling. Because CMS’s rule does not go into effect until 2024, the present is a great opportunity to educate your patients on these soon-to-be available behavioral health services. To learn more about CMS’s changes to behavioral health and explore other new Medicare changes, read the CMS press release here: (https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-finalizes-physician-payment-rule-advances-health-equity).
Additional sources: (https://www.cms.gov/outreach-education/american-indian/alaska-native/behavioral-health#:~:text=Behavioral%20health%20includes%20the%20emotions,physical%20health%20care%20provider%20would).