The pandemic has undoubtedly forced people all around the world to adapt to a new way of living. We have been working from home, wearing masks in public and greeting each other with elbow touches instead of hugs.
It’s been a particularly difficult time for people who are at a higher risk of complications or serious illness due to COVID19. This is a huge percentage of the population – not just the elderly or immunocompromised.
In 2020, the Federal Government announced telehealth services would temporarily be available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS.) This was in order to reduce the risk of community transmission. This announcement was incredibly welcome – and not just for those at risk who desperately needed to access health services in isolation. It was also very helpful to ordinary Australians, who could access a range of services online, without leaving the house – and have it supported by Medicare.
The government has since announced MBS telehealth services that were introduced on a temporary basis in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – will now be permanent.
This means, from 1 January 2022, patient access to telehealth psychology services is supported by ongoing MBS arrangements.
But what does this mean for you?
Telehealth Psychology Sessions Under a Mental Health Care Plan
You can book a session with one of our experienced telehealth psychologists under a Mental Health Care Plan (or Mental Health Treatment Plan.)
A Mental Health Care Plan is a strategy for people experiencing mental health issues. If you are struggling with your mental health, visit your GP. Your doctor can write a plan for you, identifying the type of health care you need and detailing what you and your doctor have agreed you are aiming to achieve.
When the Care Plan has been formalised, your doctor can refer you to a Psychologist. Once you have this referral – you can see one of our therapists under the MHCP Standard Session rate.
This means $88.25 of the $190 fee will be covered by Medicare. This leaves an out of pocket cost of $101.75.
MBS telehealth items are only for out-of-hospital patients.
Can I Access Telehealth Psychology Services if I don’t have a referral from a GP, or Mental Health Care Plan?
You can absolutely still see one of our telehealth psychologists without a referral.
We understand getting into a GP can sometimes take time – and you might need to speak with someone straight away.
You can make an appointment for a Private Fee session – however you will pay the full cost of $190 – as this session is not supported by the MBS.
The full item descriptors and information on other changes to the MBS can be found on the MBS Online website.
Other Supported Sessions
There are other sources of funding available, should you meet the criteria of any of the following:
- Chronic Disease Management Initiative: For people with a chronic or terminal medical condition. Must be referred by their GP
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): The NDIS provides support to eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disability. To check if you are eligible, go to the NDIS website.
- Motor vehicle accidents claims: If your mental health is affected as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Insurance companies may provide funding for psychology sessions. You will need a GP referral and a Claim Number from the Insurer.
- Workcover: We provide psychological services fully funded by Workcover to eligible clients.
More information can be found on our Fees and Rebates page.
Why are Telehealth Psychology Services so Important?
There are many benefits to telehealth psychology sessions to clients.
Not only does it offer greater flexibility, as you don’t have to factor in travel time – it also means people who live in remote areas have access to a quality service.
Some rural areas may have psychological services, but there is often a long waitlist. At Online PsychCare, you can schedule an appointment quickly and safely.
Telehealth psychology sessions also offer a higher degree of privacy, and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Feeling safe, in your own environment, means you are likely to open up more and surrender to the experience.
Read our blog about the benefits of online therapy for more.