After more than a decade of working to secure Medicare coverage for counselors’ services, NBCC, the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, and counselors across the country can celebrate the passing of the omnibus package, which achieved our goal! The package, which includes language from the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R. 432) that expands coverage of mental health counselors (MHCs) and marriage and family therapists (MFTs) under Medicare Part B, was signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 29, 2022.
Coverage of MHCs and MFTs under Part B of the Medicare program will begin Jan. 1, 2024. Medicare is the largest health care program in the country, covering more than 55 million people. It currently recognizes psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses for outpatient mental health services, and now counselors and MFTs will be added to the list. Because Medicare is the country’s flagship health care program, counselor inclusion is key to ensuring parity with other professions.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will now develop specific rules on how counselors can apply for provider status, receive a Provider ID number, and bill for services. The rules will be developed in 2023 ahead of the Jan.1, 2024, implementation.
The NBCC Government Affairs team will work in conjunction with CMS to develop these rules and inform counselors about the enrollment process.
Through the collaborative efforts of the coalition, we have achieved counselor inclusion in the Medicare program. Other members of the coalition are:
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