Bulk Billing Psychologist: A Guide to Medicare Services and Finding the Right Therapist
If you’re searching for a Bulk Billing Psychologist, you’ve come to the right page. In this article, we provide an overview of what bulk billing psychologists are, who can benefit from the rebate, and 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.
What is a Bulk Billing Psychologist?
Bulk billing psychologists do not charge a ‘gap fee.’ A ‘gap fee’ is an amount charged in addition to the Medicare rebate for psychological services. Psychologists who charge a gap fee will bill a higher rate than the Medicare Australia rebate and subsequently process the Medicare rebate to you. Consequently, any psychologist claiming to provide bulk billing services will only bill Medicare Australia, which means the psychologist accepts the rebate as full payment for the services provided.
Here’s an example:
A psychologist charges $200 for psychological services. If the Medicare rebate is $93.35, the ‘gap fee’ is the remainder, which is $106.65
When a ‘gap fee’ is applied to the Medicare rebate for a psychological service, it can no longer be categorized as bulk billing . As a result, psychologists who advertise bulk billing services will only charge Medicare Australia, accepting the rebate as full payment for their services. (Services Australia, 2019)
Who Can Benefit from Bulk Billing Psychological Services?
Bulk billing psychological services are an affordable option for clients who find it difficult to cover ‘gap fees.’ However, finding a bulk billing psychologist can be challenging as bulk billing services attract significant waiting lists. At Chat Corner Psychologists, we believe that clients who cannot pay the ‘gap fee’ should have access to bulk-billing services. In conclusion, although it is typical for psychologists to impose ‘gap fees’, we firmly believe that bulk billing services should be made available to clients in genuine need.
Costs to Consider Before Starting Therapy.
It is important to ask your psychologist about their billing method before beginning therapy. The three main types of psychologists in Australia are:
- Bulk billing psychologists
- Psychologists that charge the Medicare rebate plus a ‘gap fee’
- Psychologists that charge full fees without offering the Medicare rebate
*Some psychologists use a sliding scale.
Children, youth, or senior citizens may be eligible for bulk billing services.
Additionally, a practice may allow services to be bulk billed depending on individual circumstances.
Some practices offer mixed billing psychological services, which means a combination of bulk billing psychologists, psychologists who charge a gap fee, and psychologists who charge full fees without offering any rebates through Medicare.
Why Is It Difficult to Get a Bulk Billing Appointment?
Bulk billing waiting lists which demonstrate lowered access to mental health services are caused by several factors, which include:
- The geographical location of the bulk billing psychologist. According to the Department of Health (2010), the demand for bulk billing services in rural and remote areas is greater.
- The shortage of trained psychologists (Department of Health, 2010)
- Nation-wide decreases in training opportunities for psychologists (Australian Psychological Society, 2011).
Psychologists Who Are Not Bulk Billing Psychologists
Psychologists who charge a gap fee will only refund the rebate provided by Medicare Australia (Australian Psychological Society, n.d.). You will need to pay for your total psychological services bill upfront and will only be reimbursed for the psychological services rebate amount.
Here’s an example:
The total bill for today’s session from your ‘gap fee’ psychologist is $200. Therefore, you will be reimbursed $93.35 from Medicare Australia and you will need to pay the remainder, ‘gap fee’ of $106.65.
Full fee psychologists charge fees without Medicare rebates (Australian Psychological Society, n.d.).
Different health insurers will have varying levels of coverage for therapy.
We highly recommend check your health insurance provider to ensure you fully understand your coverage limits before commencing therapy
Some insurers cover the out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover, while others cover additional sessions beyond what Medicare covers.
In conclusion, it’s essential to ask the right questions to insurer regarding your coverage or seek the services of an insurer that has a higher coverage of psychology services are to improve your chances of better mental health outcomes in the long run.
Scheduling a bulk billing psychologist
If you need assistance in scheduling a session with a bulk billing psychologist, Chat Corner Psychologists is here to guide you through the process.
Please adhere to the following steps:
- Visit your GP and instruct your GP to forward a mental health care plan and referral letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
- We will check whether your GP has processed the referral letter and mental health care plan correctly, and ensure all documentation is valid according to Medicare guidelines.
- Please complete the consent and intake forms that will be sent to your email.
If you have any questions about our bulk billing services, feel free to contact us by filling out the form below or calling us directly. We’re happy to assist and provide answers to your inquiries.
For common questions our clients have asked us, check out our “FAQ” page.
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03 9013 6388 - VIC or TAS
08 7200 6688 - WA, NT or SA
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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