Can an LMHC, LMFT, or LPC get on Medicare? – 2014 UPDATE!

There is big news this month for masters-level practitioners, counselors and marriage and family therapists alike as it applies to accepting Medicare clients in private practice!

The Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2011, which was recently submitted to Congress, advocates for the inclusion of professional counselors (LMHCs, LPCs, LCPCs) and marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) into the list of approved Medicare providers!

Hence, masters-level mental health providers may soon be able to be credentialed with Medicare and reimbursed at the same rate as LICSWs!

Stay tuned for more, or call us at 1-855-4-THRIVE for the most recent updates.


  1. Mary says

    I agree 100% with everyone’s comments. last time i checked my master’s program was a bit more extensive than any social work program I have ever seen, yet we as LMHC’s, LPC’s do not earn the same respect or pay as LCSW’s. something is just not right. As always it comes down to money and politics. I have been in the counseling field since 2003 and often find myself charging barely nothing or working pro bono for people just to make sure they receive services they need, as I work in a rural area and many of these people are on Medicare. I have written my Congressman, I think they stink and just want the paycheck once they get into office. I think they should spend one day doing what we do and they tell us we don’t have the right to receive the same pay/rights to make a living/provide the same services to others as LCSW’s. thoughts?

  2. Shirley B says

    I agree with your comments regarding the inability to bill for Medicare and Medicaid in private practice arenas. It is a sad state of affairs and I too believe that it comes down to lobbying. We counselors are trained in counseling techniques and have the expertise, yet social workers get the benefits of better jobs and careers. It is so unfair that we are being discriminated against and no one seems to care!! I hope that some attorneys out there consider whether credentialed counselors have a case for a civil suit for this unfair and discriminatory practice. Many other states treat counselors the same as other mental health professionals and afford the same rights and benefits.

    • Tracy says

      Yes, this is so true; in SC I was paneled by BC/BC as a LPC. I had no idea Excellus (BC/BS- Rochester) denied LMHC’s in NYS until i moved here. What can be done.? I am quite tired of LMHC’s being discriminated against, here in NYS. I will do whatever is needed, or would be helpful to have the LMHC afforded the same opportunities as social workers with insurance panels in NY!

  3. Barbara Mayward says

    I agree that LPC’s should be able to bill medicare. It is a shame to realize that it is about lobbying.

  4. Tony Miller says

    I have been following the discussion around LPCC’s (Ohio) being credentialed by Medicare for well over 2 years. I have 20+ years as a therapist, have extensive skill and post graduate training and certifications. I am on numerous insurance panels and yet cannot be considered as a Medicare provider because my professional associations have had limited success in lobbying congress to have counselors considered a Medicare provider. Pure baloney. I challenge all counselors who read this to flood calls to their congress man to put us on panels. I have to turn away Medicare patients who want to access my services because Medicare will not credential me….horse hockey and all that…….the string of emails coming out of this been going on for 2 years…thanks for reading this and we as counselors need to stand up and be noticed and let Medicare and congress know who we are!

    • Tony Miller says

      I also understand that legislation has been pending for some time and that a real barrier to passing the legislation that would enable counselors to bill is the fact that our assoications likely lack the amount of necessary lobbying to affect that bill in getting passed. A real shame that it would come down to lobbying…so I have contacted the local ohio counseling association as well as American Counseling association to lobby them and press them to use the fees I pay them to represent our agenda…please do the same with your local association…I am getting off my butt and really concerned about us being unfairly blocked from what rightfully is a nobrainer to be able to bill! So I will do my part and put my effort forward…will you????

      • Kathy Hakk says

        Hi Tony,

        As an LMHC in private practice I totally agree with your statements. I have written to Massachusetts government officials about this issue. In Mass I can now accept a One-Care insurance for Medicare-Medicaid, and have been on Tricare, the federally funded panel for a year. I am also paneled on many other insurances and must still either turn away Medicare clients who don’t want a One Care plan or see them for free (which I have done). It is time!

    • Sherry says

      I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been in private practice for over 28 years, and have extensive experience also and have been following this for several years as well! This only makes sense to continue to lobby for our right to bill!

    • Candis says

      I have been a LMHC in Florida since 1997 and a CAP since 1990. I work with LCSWs.

      We do the same therapy and see the same people. It is not in the best interest of client or staff.

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