Confused about the Costs and Rebates you may be eligible for, when it comes to seeing a psychologist or counsellor?
Vision Psychology therapists are independent practitioners that provide a range of services such as counselling, family and couples therapy, mental health assessments, educational assessments and legal reports.
Counselling Services are the most common service provided. Usually counselling services vary in cost depending on the therapist chosen, type of counselling required, and length of treatment. We have Psychologists, Psychiatrists (tba), Counsellors, Social Workers and Midwifery/Nurse Counsellors.
The recommended APS rate for a psychologist is $228 (46-60 min consult). Some types of referrals under Workcover, Medicare and ATAPS are substantially rebated. The type of referral will depend on the service that refers you. This will usually be your GP, psychiatrist, paediatric doctor or workplace. The AMA rate for seeing a psychiatrist for an initial appointment is $355 (45 min consult).
Most counsellors charge between $60 – $170 per hour, general psychologists $84-$185, clinical psychologists or those with speciality areas of practice $124-$210/hr and psychiatrists $300-355 per 45 minutes.
You may attend counselling without a referral. Private health insurance will usually rebate a psychologist/psychiatrist. Counsellors are usually not covered by rebates.
We have found that explaining rebates is very confusing for the average new client, therefore we recommend you book a confidential FREE appointment with one of our psychologists. We call this a “Free Emotional Health Check up“. We can assess your emotional health needs, discuss financial limitations and any relevant rebates, and provide a letter to your doctor. Most check ups involve a discussion around the “best therapist” given the confidential information shared.
Here are some common questions asked:
How can I pay for my session?
Each therapist has a different system, the majority have either use of the clinic EFTPOS machine or their own terminal. Therefore debit and credit are options. We can process medicare rebates into your account if your therapist has access to an EFTPOS terminal with “easyclaim”. That means that you will not have to go to Medicare for the rebate. Some therapists take Bartercard and we are working on expanding this service in the future. Of course cash is acceptable. If you are unsure, please email reception and we can let you know more information.
Do I need a referral to see a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor?
No referral is needed. Psychiatrists prefer a GP referral so that they can work with your treating professionals.
Can I use Private Health Insurance?
Yes, it is likely you can for a psychologist/psychiatrist, but not for a counsellor. Check prior to your first appointment. We cannot guarantee “what” is covered on your policy. Please ask!
A mental health plan is special referral provided by your GP or psychiatrist to a psychologist for the provision of counselling to treat specified mental health conditions. Only the listed conditions are eligible. A mental health plan can only be made out to an individual, not a couple, nor a family.
How many sessions of counselling does a Mental Health Plan provide?
Your GP determines the number of sessions in the letter sent to the psychologist. The maximum limit is 6 visits in the first referral, an additional 4 visits after one mental health review. Usually this means that there are up to 10 sessions in the calendar year, if the GP recommends this is required for the condition being treated.
Can I use a GP referral if I don’t have a mental health problem?
The Mental Health Plan is written for the purpose of providing individual counselling for a mental health condition.
Can I use Medicare and Private Health rebates together?
No. It’s one or the other.
Why the Sliding Scale?
Psychologists usually charge less than the recommended rate depending on their expertise and types of therapy. Psychologists/counsellors will consider hardship rates when a client is experiencing financial hardship (eg has a concession card). Clients are encouraged to discuss a payment strategy to be able to afford the “type” of counselling and therapist with sufficient skills to treat the referred condition.
What is Bulk Billing?
Bulk Billing occurs when a psychologist has a referral from a GP or doctor (psychiatrist or paediatric doctor) and the psychologist decides to reduce their rates to the amount rebated by Medicare. This means that there will be no gap payment, nor additional costs. Many psychologists will consider a bulk billing referral from time to time. We prefer bulk billing requests come through the FREE emotional health check up process so that we can help match you to the right psychologists.
Can a Counsellor Bulk Bill?
No, counsellors do not have provider numbers under Medicare as they are not registered health practitioners.
Why would I pay more for counselling if I can get it cheaper elsewhere?
Ask the psychologist or counsellor you have booked for a reduced rate. We require that you discuss this directly with each person offering counselling, as each therapist has different rates and booking requirements. If you haven’t asked, then you won’t know what is possible!
ATAPS is the new government initiative to fund moderate mental health conditions to psychologists through the Medicare Locals (GP Divisions). ATAPS referrals are for those in financial hardship, current suicide risk and other such groups who are not adequately provided for under a Mental Health Plan. ATAPS referrals are organised through GPs. Limited numbers of psychologists have access to ATAPS referrals. We can advise GPs of the availability of ATAPS ready psychologists if required. ATAPS is limited to geographical areas and different rules will apply depending on where your live. At times the ATAPS funding is unavailable and it depends on the funding available.
What if this is really confusing now I’ve read through the options?!
Book a Free Emotional Health Check up and chat to us and we will work through the best psychologist or counsellor for you, confidentially and without obligation. It is confusing for the doctors and psychologists as each year the rules and amount of sessions vary. Sometimes it is not clear how to provide the best service to you, that is why we have created a Free Check Up!
FREEcall 1800 877 924 today!