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Better Access to Psychologists through Medicare Benefits Schedule

In November 2006, new Medicare items were introduced for psychological treatment by registered psychologists. The service will provide considerable assistance to people who require these services allowing them greater access to counselling and other psychological services.
Can I claim a Medicare rebate for my appointments with a psychologist?
To claim a Medicare rebate for psychological services, you must have a special kind of referral from your GP, a psychiatrist or a paediatrician, which is called a Mental Health Care Plan.  

What is a registered psychologist?
All psychologists are legally required to register with the Psychologist Registration Board in the State or Territory, in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. This means they must be competent and follow a strict Code of Conduct. Not all counselors or therapists are registered psychologists.

If I am already seeing a psychologist, can I access these benefits?
You will need to see an appropriate medical practitioner such as your GP or a psychiatrist to see if you are eligible for a referral to your psychologist under a Mental Health Care Plan.

How many sessions with a psychologist am I entitled to?
Eligible patients can generally receive:
- Up to 10 individual services in a calendar year. Your doctor will assess your progress after the first six sessions.
- Provision will exist for patients to receive additional services where exceptional circumstances arise. These exceptional circumstances will be identified by the referring doctor.

What will it cost me?
Rebates vary slightly depending upon a number of factors. Please discuss with our staff at reception.

How will I pay?
At this practice you will need to pay the full fee for the consultation and then use your receipt to claim a Medicare rebate.

Does the Medicare Safety Net apply to my out of pocket expenses under this initiative?
Yes, you are responsible for paying any charges in excess of the Medicare benefit for items under this initiative. However, these out-of-pocket costs will count towards the Medicare Safety Net.

What about my private health insurance?
You cannot use both private health insurance ancillary cover, and the Medicare rebate for these services.

You need to decide whether you will use Medicare, or your private health insurance ancillary cover to pay for psychological services you receive. You can either access rebates from Medicare by following the claiming process, or claim where available on your insurer's ancillary benefits.
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