State to Expand Medicaid to Cover Private Therapy

May 13, 2014

State health care advocate Vicki Veltri.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Single adults on Medicaid will soon be able to get therapy someplace other than a clinic. A bill passed by lawmakers last week aims to make the coverage available this year. 

As it stands now, low-income adults on Medicaid can only get care from a psychologist or a licensed clinical social worker at a clinic. Advocates say that can lead to long waits for appointments and reduced access to care. The state has said it plans to change this policy.

Now, a bill passed by lawmakers confirms it. No later than October 1, the state will amend its Medicaid plan to cover visits for single adults to the offices of private psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, alcohol and drug counselors, and marital and family counselors.

Vicki Veltri, the state's health care advocate, said this is good news. "I think if you're a person who supports access to behavioral health services in the Medicaid program," she said, "this should be very welcome news."

An official from the state's Department of Social Services said the bill simply memorializes what the agency was already planning to do.