Psychology 101

We show you how to use psychology benefits available on some of our extras covers. 

Don’t miss out on the freebies

Until 1 December 2021, temporary telehealth benefits are available for both psychiatrists and psychologists through Medicare. Some of these might be bulk billed with no out of pocket cost for you to pay. Call your practice to see if this is available for you.

It all starts with your GP

Your GP is still pretty handy when it comes to mental health (and your wallet, mind you).

While you don’t need a referral to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, you do need a referral if you want Medicare to help with the cost of your treatment.

Not only are GPs trained in mental health, they can put you onto a Medicare mental health treatment plan which allow you to get help from the government.

How does a Mental Health Treatment Plan work?

Your GP writes the plan for services that you can claim through Medicare from a psychologist, occupational therapist or social worker. Medicare provides benefits for up to 10 individual visits (up from a previous five before November 2017) plus 10 group sessions per year if you’d like to use them.

Under Medicare COVID-19 support available until 30 June 2022, people whose movement was restricted due to COVID-19 may be eligible for an additional 10 individual psychological therapy sessions (i.e. a total of 20 under a Medicare Mental Health Treatment Plan). Read all the details on the government’s fact sheet.

For the subsequent psychology visits, you can then claim from your extras cover (if you’re covered for it) and start drawing down on your limits. 

What’s the difference between psychology and psychiatry?

Psychology is a service that is claimable on some Peoplecare extras (if you’ve served your 2-month waiting period) and psychiatry consultations are only claimable through Medicare.

The main difference is that psychiatrists are doctors who can prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions and refer patients to hospital, three things that psychologists can’t do.

Besides that, both psychologists and psychiatrists use therapy to treat a whole range of concerns such as depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction and bipolar disorders.

If you don’t like making touch decisions, you can use a psychologist and a psychiatrist together as your medical team.

Peoplecare psychology benefits

This benefit is paid from the Psychology limit as in the table below. Peoplecare provides benefits for registered psychologists. Please also read the bullet points below the table for the T&Cs.

Extras cover

Initial consult

Subsequent

consults

Limit per person

Limit per family

Premium Extras

$110

$90

$500

$1000

High Extras

$90

$70

$400

$800

Mid Extras

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Simple Extras

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

Closed Extras covers*

Initial consult

Subsequent consults

Limit per person

Limit per family

Comprehensive Extras

80% of the cost up to $120

80% of the cost up to $60

$500

$650

Value Extras

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Standard Extras

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

* These covers are closed but members with these covers can stay on them and use their benefits.

How the benefits work

  • A 2-month waiting period applies for new members and members who’ve just upgraded to an extras cover with psychology benefits.
  • Only one initial consultation can be claimed each financial year.
  • Limits reset every financial year.
  • No benefits are available for social workers, counselling services or psychiatry consultations.
  • As with most extras services, providers commonly charge you an out-of-pocket cost (aka a gap) for their services.

How to claim psychology

Simply swipe your Peoplecare card to claim with your psychologist.

Forgot your card? Collect the receipt and make a photo claim.

 

Sources: