Statement from AAMFT’s CEO Chris Michaels Regarding Medicare’s Coverage of Marriage and Family Therapists: A Transformational Change for Clients and Therapists

January 2, 2024

On behalf of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the 72,000 MFTs we represent, today we celebrate a historic milestone—licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) can now provide services to Medicare beneficiaries and receive reimbursement from Medicare. This is a major turning point for access to care, but coverage is only the beginning. We need more beneficiaries to know they have access to family therapy, and we need more LMFTs to support the needs of Medicare recipients.

Medicare beneficiaries need therapy support now more than ever—1 in 4 beneficiaries reported having a mental health condition in 2022, yet only half reported receiving treatment. And a recent report from the CDC found men aged 65+ are at the highest risk for suicide, signaling an even greater need for therapy intervention. While seniors make up the majority of Medicare beneficiaries and have unique complex needs, we also recognize beneficiaries include other populations, such as people with disabilities, people with substance use disorder, veterans, and people with low-incomes who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. LMFTs are extensively trained to provide therapy for every demographic covered by Medicare and are proven to help their clients manage the complexities of family dynamics to improve mental health.

AAMFT has been working closely with our members for many months to help make the Medicare enrollment process as smooth as possible for providers, and we will continue to host webinars to explain in detail how to register and the implications for our therapists and their clients. We are pleased to report that recent surveys indicate at least 60% of our eligible members plan to enroll. As a global leader for the marriage and family therapy profession, we are confident the expanded Medicare coverage will provide tremendous value to beneficiaries. We are also excited for LMFTs to gain additional experience, particularly those seeking to specialize, expand their patient network or diversify their clientele.

AAMFT remains committed to addressing biases surrounding mental health, particularly for older adults, and improving access to care so LMFTs can further reach Medicare beneficiaries in need of therapy. Today, we celebrate this historic moment, and we are prepared to navigate future challenges so that marriage and family therapy becomes accessible for everyone who seeks help.

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