Can I Afford to See a Psychologist?

Can I Afford to See a Psychologist?

Seeing a psychologist is often more affordable than people think.

Depending on your individual circumstances there are several ways that you can access psychology services including through:

The Medicare “Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative”

This initiative is available if your GP believes you meet particular criteria for a mental health issue. This can include having transient difficulties adjusting to changes in your life such as losing a loved one, going through a divorce or separation, being unemployed or coping with health issues.

Eligible clients receive a rebate between $84.80 and $124.50 for up to ten individual sessions per calendar year. This reduces your out-of-pocket costs to $55 per session.

It is up to your GP to decide whether you are eligible for this initiative. If you are, they will give you a document known as a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which will enable you to claim your rebate. So that you don’t need to complete paperwork yourself, we have a system set up that allows us to arrange your rebate for you on the day of your appointment.

Your private health insurance

If you have private health insurance that includes psychological counselling as extras cover you may be eligible for a partial rebate. It is recommended that you contact your individual insurance provider for further information about your individual coverage because each company and level of insurance varies.

Private sessions

If you are not eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan and don’t have private health insurance, sessions with a psychologist are considered “private”. Private sessions with a psychologist are paid for entirely out of your own pocket.

Other things to keep in mind when deciding whether you can afford to see a psychologist

Bulk-billing and reduced fees

At Inner Melbourne Clinical Psychology we are committed to providing affordable psychology services. In order to do this, we offer a limited amount of bulk-billing appointments, which means there are no out-of-pocket costs. In certain circumstances we can also reduce our fee to decrease out-of-pocket costs for our clients.

In order to reserve bulk-billing and low cost services for people who need them the most we only this arrangement to people who are on a full or disability pension, unemployed or a full-time student (as long as parents aren’t paying for sessions).

We have limited bulk-billing and reduced fee appointments available, but do our best to accommodate people’s needs.

Group Therapy

If you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan in addition to being able to receive ten individual sessions with a psychologist per calendar year, you are also eligible (with permission from your GP) to receive a rebate of $31.65 for ten group sessions. Group therapy sessions typically cost around $60-80 per hour, which means  you pay around $30-50 out of your own pocket.

Mid way through 2017 we will be running a group workshop for mindfulness. If you would like us to keep you posted when we have more details send us an email here.

Got a question we haven’t answered?

If you have a question we haven’t answered, our friendly client support team is more than happy to help.

Get in touch by calling us on (03) 9376 1958 or clicking here.


About the Author:

Dr Jacqueline Baulch is a clinical psychologist and the director of Inner Melbourne Clinical Psychology.