We Did It! Medicare Reimbursement Now Law

CONGRATULATIONS on an advocacy job well done! Thank you to the thousands of advocates who urged Congress to support this legislation to increase access to mental health in America and promote the counseling profession. WE did it!

U.S. Capitol with Counselors

What’s next?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will now update the Medicare reimbursement rules to add LPCs to the Medicare provider list. This process may take 12 months as CMS updates regulatory language and internal systems that will accept LPCs as Medicare providers. During this time, the American Counseling Association and our partners will work with stakeholders, including ACA members, to ensure that the appropriate systems are in place to support the profession. ACA will also work with our partners to conduct trainings to support the needs of LPCs wishing to enroll as Medicare providers.

Through all our efforts and your commitment to advocating for the counseling profession, Congress has come to know and understand our profession and how we support those in need of mental health services.

Please continue amplifying the voices of counselors to make legislative and policy changes for the profession and those served by LPCs by visiting the ACA Take Action Center to continue advocating for the profession today! 

The Voice of Counseling: Medicare Episodes

Special Episode: Celebrating the Passing of Medicare for Counselors with ACA’s Government Affairs Team

Listen to this special episode of ACA's The Voice of Counseling podcast celebrating the bill that just passed allowing Licensed Professional Counselors to work with clients with Medicare insurance! Our guest Brian Banks, the Chief of Government Affairs and Public Policy Officer for the ACA, gives us the rundown on the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, and what’s next for counselors and their clients.  

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act and What it Means for Counselors

Join us for another special episode on the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. Our guest Guila Todd, from ACA’s Governing Affairs and Public Policy team, and Dr. Victoria Kress discuss the upcoming changes to Medicare reimbursement and best practices for serving older adults and individuals with a disability. Tune in to learn more about this monumental milestone, how counselors can begin to prepare to serve the Medicare population, and advocacy tips.

Read more here: FAQs on the Passage of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act

With the implementation of Medicare going into effect on January 1, 2024, ACA has developed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help guide counselors in making informed decisions about enrolling as a Medicare provider. As ACA receives additional information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) we will update the FAQ to meet your needs.

Video and Slide Decks: Medicare Part B Coverage of Counselors and MFTs

Medicare 101: An Introduction to the Medicare Program & Coverage of Counselors & MFTs

Medicare 301: Navigating the Medicare Provider Enrollment Process & Physician Fee Schedule

Medicare 501: New Engagement Opportunities for Community Behavioral Health Centers With Counselors and MFTs Under Medicare

Medicare 201: The Implementation of Medicare Part B Coverage of Counselors and MFTs

Medicare 401: Assessing Essential Features of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule

Medicare 601: The Enrollment Process for Counselors and MFTs


Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition

The Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition is a group of national and state organizations collectively representing hundreds of thousands of mental health and addiction disorder providers, clients, patients, and other stakeholders committed to strengthening Medicare beneficiaries’ access to mental and behavioral health care, building the provider workforce we need, and modernizing coordination of delivery and payment systems for that care.

Coalition goal

To increase access to client choice for mental health provider care by passing the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S.828/H.R.432).

What the bill does

  • Provides coverage for licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and marriage and family therapist (LMFT) services under Medicare.
  • Authorizes mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to develop discharge plans for post hospital services.

What is the Medicare coverage gap?

Outdated language in current Medicare coverage legislation has resulted in many individuals who rely on Medicare experiencing a variety of challenges to getting the care they need, including:

  • Limited access to more affordable treatment options
  • Lack of continuity of care when individuals in therapy either age into Medicare or become Medicare-eligible due to permanent disability
  • Lack of access to 40% of behavioral health professionals with a master’s degree
  • Barriers to better integration of physical and mental health care
  • Lack of access to coordinated benefits for dual eligible beneficiaries and veterans with Medicare because LPC/MHCs and LMFTs are not recognized as Medicare providers
  • Likelihood of foregoing or discontinuing therapy altogether for individuals living in rural areas with few or no available Medicare providers

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021 (S. 828/H.R.432) would close the gap in federal law that prevents MHCs/LPCs and LMFTs from being recognized as Medicare providers. The legislation would give Medicare beneficiaries immediate access to over more than 225,000 additional licensed mental health professionals and help close the widening treatment gap. 

A Message from Senator John Barrasso on the importance of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S.828)


Coalition members

American Counseling Association American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy American Mental Health Counselors Association
Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Centerstone
Center for Medicare Advocacy Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research National Association for Rural Mental Health
National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors National Board for Certified Counselors National Council for Mental Wellbeing
National Council on Aging    

To learn more about the work of the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, email or call 800-347-6647.


Counselor Medicare Usage Survey Results

In a nationwide survey of licensed professional counselors, the American Counseling Association found that up to 115,000 counselors are likely to seek enrollment as Medicare providers — saving the program millions annually — if Congress passes the Mental Health Access Improvement Act.  More than 24,000 licensed professional mental health counselors across all 50 states and in three U.S. territories responded to the ACA survey. A majority (72.4%) said they would be interested in becoming a Medicare provider if allowed. Making counselors eligible to provide services under Medicare would not only increase beneficiaries’ access to care, but would create more opportunities for cost-effective services, helping keep beneficiaries out of more expensive treatment settings like hospitals and emergency rooms. 

For full results and conclusions, see 'Counselors’ Interest in Working With Medicare Beneficiaries: A Survey of Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors.'


Medicare Coalition - FAQs on Medicare Coverage






Additional Medicare Coalition Resources