bulk billing psychologist

Bulk Billing Psychologist – A primer on Medicare psychological services and finding the right Bulk Billing Psychologist

If you’re looking for a Bulk Billing Psychologist, you’ve come to the right page. We provide an an overview of what a bulk billing psychologist is, who benefits from the rebate, the different types of billing methods used by psychologists. 

If you are simply looking for bulk billing psychological services, feel free to skip ahead to the “Are you looking for a bulk billing psychologist?” section. 

A brief overview of the bulk billing psychologist.

Bulk billing psychologists are psychologists who do not charge a ‘gap fee’. For clarification, a ‘gap fee’ is an amount that is charged in addition to the Medicare Australia rebate for psychological services. The additional amount is charged by ‘gap fee’ psychologists, but not by a bulk billing psychologist.

Here’s a hypothetical example. A psychologist charges $200 for psychological services. If the Medicare rebate is $87.45, the ‘gap fee’ is the remainder, which is $112.55. 

Therefore, if a ‘gap fee’ is added to the Medicare rebate, that psychological service cannot be considered bulk billing.  Consequently, any psychologist claiming to provide bulk billing services will only bill Medicare Australia. In other words, the psychologist accepts the rebate as full payment for the services provided. (Services Australia, 2019)

Who can benefit from the services of a bulk billing psychologist?

Bulk billing psychological services are an affordable option for clients. Certainly, this option is for clients who find it difficult to cover ‘gap fees’. However, it can be challenging to find a bulk billing psychologist as bulk billing services attract significant waiting lists. As a consequence, Chat Corner Psychologists believes that clients who cannot pay the ‘gap fee’ should have access to bulk-billing services. To sum up, whilst it is common for psychologists to charge ‘gap fees’, we believe that bulk billing services should be provided if the client really needs it.

Costs to think about before starting therapy.

In this section, we briefly discuss the different types of psychologist billing methods. Therefore, it is important to ask your psychologist about their billing method before beginning therapy. Below, are some of the types of psychologists across Australia.

The three main types of psychologists:

  1. Bulk billing psychologists.
  2. Psychologists that charge the Medicare rebate plus a ‘gap fee’.
  3. Psychologists that charge full fees without offering the Medicare rebate.

* Some psychologists use a sliding scale. For example, if you are a child, youth or senior citizens, you may be eligible for bulk billing services. Additionally, a practice may allow services to be bulk billed depending on individual circumstances. 

Additionally, some practices offer mixed billing psychological services. Simultaneously, a combination of the following is offered:

  1. bulk billing psychologists
  2. psychologists who charge a gap fee and;
  3. psychologists who charge full fees who do not offer any rebates through Medicare.  

Why it’s difficult to get a bulk billing appointment?

Bulk billing waiting lists are caused by several factors.  Firstly, the geographical location of the bulk billing psychologist. For instance, the demand for bulk billing services is higher in rural and remote areas (Department of Health, 2010). Secondly, the shortage of trained psychologists (Department of Health, 2010). Thirdly, nation-wide decreases in training opportunities for psychologists (Australian Psychological Society, 2011). To sum up, these factors combined contribute to lowered access to mental health services.

Psychologists not considered bulk billing psychologists.

In the sections below, we discuss psychologists who are not bulk billing psychologists.  Accordingly, they are psychologists who charge a gap fee and those that charge full fees (Australian Psychological Society, n.d.).

Psychologists with a ‘Gap fee’

Psychologists who charge gap fees have a will only refund the rebate provided by Medicare Australia. Firstly, you will need to pay for your total psychological services bill upfront. Subsequently, you will only be reimbursed for the psychological services rebate amount.

Here’s a hypothetical example. The total bill for today’s session from your ‘gap fee’ psychologist is $200. Therefore, you will be reimbursed $86.15 from Medicare Australia and you will need to pay the remainder, ‘gap fee’ of $113.85. 

Moreover, if you privately insured, be aware that different insurance providers cover separate items in therapy. On the one hand, some insurers will cover the additional fees not covered by Medicare, while other insurers will cover sessions not covered by Medicare. Finally, always check with your private insurer before starting therapy.

Full fee psychologists

Accordingly, full fee psychologists are psychologists who charge fees without Medicare rebates. To illustrate further, the practice may choose to provide full fee services for several reasons. Firstly, it could be the preferences of the psychologist or the practice itself. Secondly, it could be based on the client’s preferences. Most importantly, these practices do not offer Medicare rebates for their psychological services. Finally, be aware that some private insurers may and may not cover full fee psychological services, therefore, always check with your insurance provider before starting therapy.

Are you looking for a bulk billing psychologist?

In conclusion, it’s important to ask the right questions to your psychologist. This improves your chances for better mental health outcomes. That being said, we at Chat Corner Psychologists are here to guide you through the process of scheduling a session with a bulk billing psychologist. Please leave your details in the contact section at the bottom of this page.

Most likely, the following steps will be involved:

  1. Obtaining the mental health care plan and referral letter from your GP.
  2. Emailing the mental health care plan to Chat Corner Psychologists at admin@chatcorner.com.au. More importantly, we have to ensure that the mental health care plan and the referral letter is valid.
  3. Accordingly, you will complete the intake and consent forms.

Additionally, if you have questions about our therapy services, we can schedule a brief conversation with one of our Registered Psychologists. For frequently asked questions, please review the “What Happens in Therapy” page.

Talk To Us

Dial 02 8091 1288 if you are in New South Wales or Queensland

Dial 003 9013 6388 if you are in Victoria or Tasmania

Dial 08 7200 6688 if you are in Western Australia, Northern Territory or South Australia

Get Help Now From Our Registered Psychologists.

Click on the chat icon and we will answer any of your queries about our service. 

Note: If this is an emergency dial 000 immediately.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land that we live and work on and we are committed to closing the gap.

References:

Services Australia. (2019, September 27). How to claim a Medicare benefit – Bulk billing https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/how-claim-medicare-benefit/bulk-billing#a1 Department of Health. (2010, November) Evaluation of the Better Acess Initiative Component D: Summary of consultation with stakeholders. Retrieved from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-ba-eval-dsum-toc~mental-ba-eval-dsum-8~mental-ba-eval-dsum-8-1 Voudouris, N. (2011, December). The future of higher education funding for psychology. InPsych, 33 (6). https://www.psychology.org.au/for-members/publications/inpsych/2011/dec/The-future-of-higher-education-funding-for-psychol Australian Psychological Society. (n.d.). Psychologist fees. Retrieved 27 June 2020, from https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/about-psychology/what-it-costs