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Depression

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Major Depressive Disorder, or Clinical Depression, affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy, or both.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers one depression screening per year. The screening must be done in a primary care doctor’s office or primary care clinic that can provide follow-up treatment and referrals.

Depression medication is covered by Medicare Part D.

Costs

You pay nothing for a depression screening if your doctor accepts an assignment.

What to Know

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, you need to seek professional help immediately. Feelings of hopelessness need to be taken seriously. Reaching out to a close friend or loved one can seem embarrassing or shameful, but it is the right thing to do and is the same thing you would do if you were having any other medical problem. Remember that depression is a real illness and needs to be treated as such.

If you’re having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your doctor or mental health professional.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
  • If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Medicare By State

Medicare is regulated by the federal government. However, private insurance companies are allowed to offer various parts of Medicare, and these plans can differ from state to state.

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