Can I claim a Medicare rebate for seeing a psychologist in Perth?

You might be wondering whether you can claim a Medicare rebate for seeing a psychologist. The good news is that in Australia, you can receive a rebate for psychological services through the Better Access initiative. This initiative subsidizes the cost of therapy.

To be eligible for a Medicare rebate for seeing a psychologist, you must have a mental health condition diagnosed by a medical practitioner. You also need to obtain a referral from your doctor to see a psychologist under a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Rebates are available for individual, online, and group therapy sessions.

What conditions are eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan and referral to a Psychologist?

There are many diagnosable mental health conditions but some of the most common that people seek a referral to a psychologist in private practice include:

  • Anxiety disorders such as Generalised Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Trauma & stress-related disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, and Adjustment Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive and related disorders such as OCD, hoarding, and compulsive skin-picking or hair pulling
  • Substance-related and addictive disorders
  • Sleep-wake disorders

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 45% of Australians will experience mental health issues during their lifetime so mental health conditions are common.

How do I get a referral and Mental Health Care Plan?

To obtain a referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP)  book in to see your GP. When you make your appointment let the reception staff know that you would like a longer appointment so you can obtain a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

This will enable the GP to spend extra time with you so they can ask you some questions to assess your symptoms to see whether you are eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan and if so, complete the required paperwork.

Tell your GP what your concerns about your mental health are and that you are interested in obtaining a referral to a psychologist and you would like a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

To issue a Medicare rebate for psychological services, we are obliged to have a valid referral letter on file from the GP or psychiatrist. We don’t need the MHTP on file, we just need to know that the GP has prepared one, but it is helpful for us to see it. Without a valid referral, we can still provide the service, but it would be a breach of Medicare rules for us to process the rebate for the session.

Your referral must contain the following information:
1. Date prepared
2. Patient’s name                                                                      
3. Patient’s date of birth
4. Patient’s address                                                    

5. A diagnosis or symptoms of a mental health disorder services
6. A request for services to be provided by a psychologist \
7. The referring medical practitioner’s Medicare Provider Number

8. The practitioner’s signature
9. The number of sessions you are being referred for (maximum of 6 for any one referral).

Your referral doesn’t need to be made out to a particular psychologist. The referral can be made out to The Psychologist and it can also have the name of another psychologist on it. This enables you to see the psychologist of your choice which is helpful if the psychologist you had been referred to isn’t available or has a long waitlist.

How many sessions can I claim a rebate for under a Mental Health Treatment Plan?

You can receive a rebate for up to 10 sessions of individual psychological therapy per calendar year under a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

The maximum number of sessions you can have per referral is 6. Once you have used the number of sessions on your referral, you can discuss with your psychologist whether further sessions are required. You will then need to speak with your GP to get a re-referral for additional sessions up to 10 per year.

You are welcome to continue attending sessions after you have used the 10 Medicare rebated sessions. Many people continue attending after using their Medicare entitlement as they want to continue their therapy to obtain the maximum benefit.

If you have private health, you can claim a rebate from your health fund for any sessions you haven’t claimed a Medicare rebate for. You can’t double-dip, unfortunately.

Are the sessions free when I have a Mental Health Care Plan?

Like most other medical and health professionals we do not provide bulk billing, so you will be required to pay the session fee upfront, then claim the rebate.  Please see our FAQ page to obtain further information on our fees.

Some people find that there Private Health insurance has better coverage for sessions than the Medicare rebate so use this instead. Contact your private health fund to see what is best for you.

How do I claim a Medicare rebate for my psychology sessions?

The rebate to see a registered psychologist for a 50+ minute session is currently $89.65 (as of February 2023). After your session, we can process your rebate electronically for you by submitting a claim to Medicare on your behalf.

Do all psychologists participate in the Better Access Medicare Scheme?

No, not all psychologists participate in the Medicare scheme. To be eligible to provide rebated sessions a psychologist must have a Medicare Provider number. It’s a good idea to check with your psychologist before booking your first session to ensure they participate in the scheme.

At the Wellbeing Psychologist, all our registered psychologists are eligible to provide services under Medicare, except our provisional psychologists as they are not eligible for a Medicare provider number whilst undertaking their internship. Provisional psychologists have completed their university training but must undertake a 1-year internship which is supervised by a senior psychologist.

We have reduced the fees when seeing a provisional psychologist so you pay slightly less than the gap fee you would be paying if you saw a psychologist with a Medicare provider number.

I would like to obtain a referral to see a psychologist, what steps do I need to take next?

Step 1. Book an appointment to see your GP to obtain a referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Step 2. Make sure your referral is valid by using the above checklist.

Step 3. Book a session with your preferred psychologist online here [insert booking button], or ring our friendly admin staff on 0428 481 252 to find out who would be the best fit for you.

By following the above steps, you can access affordable psychological services and get the support you need to improve your mental wellbeing.