Medicare: Screening for Depression


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Depression is a prevalent condition that can cause challenges affecting many different facets of life. Finding help and receiving treatment is a vital step in recovering. A once a year screening for depression is provided free of charge through Medicare Part B. Medicare may also cover some of the costs of treatment as well. Find help right away if you think you are noticing signs of depression.

What to Look For

Nearly every aspect of life can be affected by depression. Your personal relationships can become strained and normal everyday activities can suddenly become too much to handle. Symptoms that you may experience are feelings of sadness or hopelessness, changes in sleeping patterns, loss of interest in hobbies, tiredness, lack of motivation, fixating on the past, and suicidal fantasies. Young to middle-aged have a higher risk for depression, although it can be experienced at any age.

The Data

In the U.S. it is estimated that 4.7% of all adults are suffering from depression. Throughout the world, depression is a top cause of disability and tends to affect women more than men. In serious cases, suicide may become a serious risk. Over 40,000 people in the U.S. will commit suicide every year. Recognizing the signs early on is an important step in suicide prevention.

Screening Through Medicare

Medicare offers a screening once every year to check for signs of depression. This screening is covered by Part B Medicare and is free of charge if the doctor accepts assignment.  The screening must be performed in a primary care facility capable of providing follow-ups and referrals. Treatment options may also be partially covered by Medicare. Check with your doctor and your Medicare handbook for more information on covered treatment options.

Variety of Treatments

Depression may be treated in a variety of ways. Conventional treatments such as antidepressants and psychotherapy are often prescribed by doctors to help manage symptoms. Many other alternative treatment options are also commonly recommended in conjunction with those. These treatments include therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, art therapy, and exercise. It is important to review all of the options with your doctor to create a plan that works best for you.



We hope that this information on depression screening through Medicare is useful to you.

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