Do psychiatrists bulk-bill?
Some psychiatrists may bulk-bill. This means you don’t have to pay any money for the appointment.
Each psychiatrist has their own criteria for who they bulk-bill. For example, they might bulk-bill people who have Health Care Cards.
Check if you qualify for bulk-billing by calling the clinic before your appointment.
Find a psychiatrist near you who offers bulk-billing
Does private health insurance cover psychiatrists?
Private health insurance won’t cover your private appointment with a psychiatrist.
It may cover you for psychiatrist visits during a stay in a private hospital. It is important to check your level of health cover if your psychiatrist recommends hospital care.
More about private health insurance and mental health
I’m having trouble paying – what options do I have?
If you are having trouble paying for psychiatric appointments:
- Tell the clinic receptionist that you are having difficulties – they may be able to organise a payment plan for you.
- Discuss this with your psychiatrist.
Medicare Safety Net
The Medicare Safety Net provides extra rebates once your out-of-pocket medical costs reach $453.20 in a calendar year. After you spend this amount, Medicare will pay extra rebates.
Once you reach the Safety Net, your cost per appointment might drop.
Extended Medicare Safety Net
The Extended Safety Net provides more rebates on top of what you might already be getting under the standard Safety Net.
If you are a concession card holder or a family receiving Family Tax Benefit A, once your out-of-pocket medical costs reach $656.30 you will qualify for the Extended Safety Net.
For people who don’t qualify for concession, the threshold is $2056.30.
More about the Medicare Safety Net
How many times will I see my psychiatrist?
You might only need to see a psychiatrist once or twice per year.
In other cases, you may need to have regular appointments with a psychiatrist for management of a long-term illness. The Medicare safety nets are designed to help you cover these ongoing costs.
Your psychiatrist may also refer you to see a psychologist or allied health professional for psychological treatment. In this case, there are Medicare rebates available through the Better Access and ATAPS programs.
Better Access provides Medicare rebates for appointments with allied health professionals. This could be a psychologist, a mental health-trained GP, a registered social worker or other approved professional. It does not cover psychiatrist visits.
A psychiatrist can directly refer you under the Better Access Scheme by writing a referral letter.
Better Access provides up to 6 Medicare-rebated sessions. You can get 4 more sessions if your psychiatrist or GP thinks it’s necessary.
More about the Better Access program
Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS)
If you have a diagnosed mental illness and are in hardship, living remotely or have suffered serious trauma (for example homelessness, bushfire or earthquake), you may be eligible for the ATAPS program.
ATAPS allows up to 12 treatment sessions per year with a psychologist, nurse, occupational therapist, social worker or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker.
Talk to your GP or psychiatrist about this program.