Medicare's Preventive Service: Depression Screening

Published 06/25/2020

On February 2, 2020, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow – heralding an early spring. While that’s good news for many, not all find feel as cheerful. For those who suffer from and with depression, the thought of being energized by a new spring seems to ring false for them.

"At the same time as most of us are rolling up our sleeves and spending more time outdoors, others struggle with trying to get into that kind of mode, and counter-intuitively, they feel worse,” Harvard psychiatrist John Sharp told the British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC. "If you're not being carried along with the natural energy of the season it can be really hard."

Medicare covers depression screening in a primary care setting, meaning there are clinical staff (such as a doctor, nurse, physician assistant) who address a large bulk of healthcare needs and who can provide follow-up treatment and referrals. This type of provider does not include emergency departments, inpatient hospital settings, ambulatory surgical centers, independent diagnostic testing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and hospice.

This once-a-year preventive service is free, so there is no copayment and the deductible does not apply. You only need to see your primary care doctor to receive this service. And, please, do not suffer. Don’t hesitate to contact your primary care giver today if you feel depressed or are concerned that you may have depression.

If you have questions about Medicare’s coverage of depression screening, please call our Beneficiary Contact Center at 800-833-4455 or TTY, call 877-566-3572 for the hearing impaired. Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

We also encourage you to use our free, beneficiary website portal called ‘MyRRMed’. MyRRMed provides you with access to your claims information, along with historical Medicare Summary Notices, and a listing of individuals you have authorized to have access to your protected health information (PHI). You can also submit requests to add or change your authorized representatives through the portal.  To access MyRRMed, please visit us at

Read more about Dr. Sharp's interview with the BBC on their website.

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