- Office visits
- Home visits
- After hours
- Week ends
- Web or Skype visits
- Walk and talk environmental sessions.
- Mon – Fri: 9am – 2pm (Clinic Sessions)
- Sat & Sun: 8am- 5pm (Skype or phone sessions)
Counselling and psychotherapy associations have recently been asked to make a submission regarding the Medicare rebate for their clients. Insurance is great for people who really cannot afford counselling services but there are a multitude of reasons that Medicare is a bad idea for clients and therapists alike. Here are a few reasons why it is better to self-pay for therapy:
Whenever Medicare or private health insurance is used, your private information, psychiatric diagnosis (yes, you need a diagnosis to receive the rebate!), presenting issues, treatment plan and progress reports, are available to the insurance company and at times, to employers. Medicare, private health insurance and employee assistance programs often ask for detailed personal information about clients in order to make payment decisions. This review can undermine your sense of privacy and confidentiality necessary for effective counselling and psychotherapy. Once you have a ‘Mental Health Plan’ diagnosis, it becomes part of your health records forever. (See how one woman lost her dream job due to her depression diagnosis!).
Medicare and insurance companies limit your choice of therapists. Most “preferred providers” offer good treatment, keep your interests foremost and try to keep treatment brief without sacrificing quality. At times however, the insurance company may ask preferred providers to divide their loyalty between you and the insurance company. It is better to self-pay if a therapist comes highly recommended but is not on the provider list, if you would like to have unlimited choice regarding which therapist you would like to see and if you wish to avoid seeing a therapist with a potential conflict of interest.
As previously mentioned, Medicare, private health companies and employer assistance programs often limit the choice in therapist and the modality that you are able to use – usually Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Due to cost effectiveness, they also limit the length of treatment. Medicare and other insurance companies provide ultra-brief therapy (3, 6 or 12 sessions). The majority of people require more sessions than this to address the underlying issues and to provide you with long lasting change. One of the major issues with time limited therapy is ‘revolving door syndrome’ – this is widely recognised within the Medicare Better Access Mental Health Plan system. It is not that certain techniques such as CBT aren’t useful or necessary – they are at times – but they don’t address our innate wholeness and the whole story. Self-paying for therapy is preferable in order to receive the type and length of treatment required to suit your needs.
When a third party is responsible for payment, they have the power to influence your treatment. A company employee may be required to evaluate your motivation, the severity of your problems, your progress, and make treatment recommendations. The therapist must take the company’s recommendations into consideration or risk losing a contract to work with the company altogether. It is preferable to pay for your own treatment to eliminate this outside influence.
For therapy & counselling, Medibank Private members may be entitled to a benefit as I am a nationally registered psychotherapist.
- PremierPlus, AdvantagePlus, Smartplus, HealthyPlus or their VIP corporate equivalents. These policies are no longer available for purchase but approximately 1.6 million existing policy holders still have these policies.
- Family Essentials
- Family Comprehensive
- Members may need to check that they have not already used their package bonus for other services. You can do this by asking Medibank Private for a printout of your claim history.
- Send you claim in via post. Make sure you use the correct claim form, as detailed above.
- Make a complaint by contacting the Medibank Private Call Centre on 134 190.