Mark J. Covall
President and CEO, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
Medicare denies specialty inpatient care for mental illness but not any other medical condition.
Over the past few years, we’ve made great strides in eliminating barriers to mental health treatment. In 2008, Congress passed the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires private insurers to cover mental health and addiction treatment at the same level as other medical disorders.
However, lawful discrimination against mental illnesses still exists for seniors and disabled adults who receive benefits through Medicare.
That’s because Medicare beneficiaries have a lifetime limit of 190 days of inpatient psychiatric hospital care. There is no such lifetime limit for any other Medicare specialty inpatient hospital service.