Senators propose lifting cap on Medicare mental health benefits

Share this content:
Newly introduced legislation in the Senate would lift a lifetime cap on Medicare benefits for inpatient mental health services.

The current rules allow for only 190 days of inpatient psychiatric hospital care over the course of a Medicare beneficiary's entire life, according to a joint release from Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). The newly proposed Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act would put Medicare coverage on par with private health insurance coverage. The senators also note that no other specialty inpatient service under Medicare is subject to such a cap.

A number of health organizations have signaled their support for the bill, including AARP, the American Nurses Association and the National Council on Aging.