Reintroduced bill aims to expand Medicare’s mental health coverage

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) reintroduced a bill that would expand Medicare’s mental healthcare coverage by eliminating a cap on Medicare services for mentally ill patients.

The bill would end the lifetime limit of 190 days of inpatient psychiatric hospital care. “There is no good reason why Medicare should randomly shut down benefits and force mentally ill seniors to go without treatment,” said Kerry, notes The Hill’s Healthwatch.

Kerry and Snowe hope the legislation will end discrimination against Medicare patients who suffer from mental illness, as there is no lifetime limit for any other Medicare specialty inpatient hospital service. By eliminating this limit, the Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act will equalize Medicare mental health coverage with private health insurance coverage, Kerry and Snowe said in a statement.

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