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Why Is Grief Counseling Important?

After a loss, it’s normal to experience deep and painful feelings of grief. During this challenging Covid-19 pandemic, many individuals can really benefit from grief counseling and other mental health services. Medicare provides coverage for many different types of mental health care, including grief counseling.

Here’s why grief counseling is so important and how to make sure you’re covered.

What Is Grief?

Grief is a very complex range of emotions that can occur after a loss. Grief is often associated with the death of a loved one but can also occur after the end of a relationship or the loss of a job. There are many emotions that are associated with grief, including sadness, anger, and guilt.

How Can Grief Counseling Help?

During your grief counseling sessions, you’ll work with a professional to process the feelings associated with your loss and develop new routines. Depending on your individual situation, your counselor will have you do things such as identify and share your feelings, come to terms with the reality of the situation, and identify traumatic experiences.

They can also help you adjust to a new routine after loss and find new sources of emotional support. Techniques like journaling and role-playing can be very helpful during this process.

It’s important to note that grief counseling cannot completely eliminate feelings of grief. What it can do is give you the tools you need to move forward in a healthy way after a loss. When selecting a mental health professional, it’s important to choose someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

What Are the Different Types of Grief?

Grief can be caused by so many different triggers that it’s difficult to give it a singular definition. There are various types of grief that take in account certain emotions and situations.

Normal Grief

Also known as uncomplicated grief, this variety may last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years following the loss of someone extremely close to you (either in death or a severed relationship).

Anticipatory Mourning

Anticipatory mourning occurs when you expect the death of a friend or family member. It’s actually quite normal to begin to anticipate how you will react and cope when that person eventually dies.

Sudden Loss

Sudden Loss is grief experienced after a sudden, unexpected death. This may result in feelings of being overwhelmed and/or unable to function, and the sudden loss may take longer to comprehend.

Complicated Grief

Traumatic or prolonged grief is a diagnosis you can receive from a medical doctor. Widely known as complicated grief, it also goes by these terms:

  • Abnormal grief
  • Chronic grief
  • Complicated grief disorder
  • Exaggerated grief
  • Pathological grief
  • Persistent complex bereavement disorder

Does Medicare Cover Grief Counseling?

Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical services, including grief counseling and other mental health care. Medicare covers individual grief counseling and other forms of therapy with a mental health professional, as long as it is deemed medically necessary. It also covers group therapy sessions.

You will only pay your deductible for this counseling if your provider accepts Medicare assignment. Medicare Part B also covers a yearly depression screening, which can identify signs of grief and other mental health problems.

If you see a psychiatrist and they prescribe medication for conditions like depression or anxiety, this will not be covered under Original Medicare. Instead, you will need a Medicare Part D plan, which covers prescription drugs.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may receive additional mental health coverage beyond what Original Medicare provides. Medicare Advantage plans are supplemental plans offered by private insurers to provide coverage beyond what Original Medicare can offer.

If you’re struggling with grief, don’t wait to seek help. Grief counseling offers essential support and tools to help you cope during this difficult time.

Have you recently experienced loss of any kind? How long has it taken you to come to terms with your new situation, sans your job, pet, friend, or loved one? Have you used Medicare for grief counseling? What advice or tips can you offer the community? Please share below.

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The Author

Jason Carrasco is the Medicare expert for Time for 65. Jason loves sharing his expertise and knowledge with older adults, loved ones and caregivers who may be new to, or who simply have a difficult time understanding the ins and outs of, Medicare.

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