HOW DOES THE MEDICARE SYSTEM WORK?
Under the Medicare system a client must be referred by a GP or Psychiatrist. Your medical practitioner will need to complete and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring you to a psychologist. Eligible clients can claim a partial rebate for the cost of their session from Medicare. This can be claimed up to a maximum of 10 sessions per calendar year. After the sixth session, your psychologist will provide a report to your referring medical practitioner.
You must return to your Medical Practitioner for a review after six sessions with your psychologist. Your practitioner will assess whether it is appropriate for you to access further sessions under a Medicare related referral. Without the review any claim made to Medicare will not be processed.
HOW DO I OBTAIN A MENTAL HEALTH CARE PLAN?
You need to book an appointment with your GP to discuss your eligibility for a Mental Health Care Plan. Most GP's will require you to book a long consultation to allow adequate time to co-ordinate the Mental Health Care Plan and discuss treatment options. Please speak with your own GP practice as to their booking requirements.
CAN I CLAIM RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING THROUGH MEDICARE?
The Medicare rebates offered with Mental Health Care Plans are for the treatment of individual clients only, as such, relationship counselling is not claimable through Medicare. In some instances, it might be helpful for your partner to accompany you to a session, but they would be there as a support only.
When clients have a Mental Health Care Plan, the individual named on the plan is my client. In relationship counselling, the relationship, as opposed to the individuals, becomes my client. Most private health insurers, however, cover relationship counselling with a psychologist.
IF I NEED MORE THAN 10 SESSIONS WITH MY PSYCHOLOGIST CAN I CLAIM ADDITIONAL SESSIONS THROUGH MEDICARE?
Medicare rebates are payable up to a maximum of 10 individual sessions per calendar year. If you do require additional sessions with your psychologist, no further Medicare rebates can be claimed. You may be able to make a claim for further psychology sessions if you are a private health fund member. Please check eligibility with your private health fund provider.
I HAVE BEEN SEEING ANOTHER PSYCHOLOGIST BUT WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE TO RELATE PSYCHOLOGY. CAN I USE MY EXISTING PLAN?
Yes, if you still have sessions available for the calendar year. We do request a referral to Relate Psychology from your GP to accompany the existing plan. Please make sure that referral stipulates how many sessions you have had with the other psychologist. You may be asked to consult with your medical practitioner for a review of your existing plan if 6 sessions have already been used.
CAN I CLAIM A PSYCHOLOGY SESSION THROUGH BOTH MEDICARE AND PRIVATE HEALTH?
Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who have gone on to specialise in the field of psychiatry. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications to treat mental illness.
Psychologists are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication. Psychological treatment typically involves 'talking therapies' designed to help people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, stress and work-related problems, life transitions and also people who have a been diagnosed with a mental illness. Depending upon what the issue is, some people will see both a psychologist and psychiatrist at the same time.