Psychologist through Bulk Billing?

Hi All,

I have been going through a mid life crisis due to friends and family for a very long time now. I have a great job, amazing wife and a son who brings a lot of happiness but several other reasons keep me awake at night.

Just wondering if i can see a doctor or psychologist through bulk billing ?

Comments

  • +3

    Closest option for bulk billed psychologist will be your local public hospital, or possibly even your local medical centre.

    Also don't write-off options such as:
    The Black Dog Instutite - https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
    Beyond Blue - https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
    Lifeline - https://www.lifeline.org.au/

    Am not so sure about Black Dog and Beyond Blue, but Lifeline actually has local clinics you can go and visit for little to no cost. Obviously a problem given current COVID lockdowns depending where you are, but definitely do something. Don't do nothing.

    Well done for recognising the need for help and reaching out to ask for it. Good luck to you.

    • +1

      Don't expect much from Lifeline or Beyond Blue. They're just listeners. It's only mild more constructive than talking to the mirror.

      Good intentions, but it just doesn't work. If you're in serious crisis you need to see a pro.

  • +7

    Hey, I was in a bad situation aswell earlier in the year due to the loss of a few family members. Be assured that thoughts like these are normal and a part of life, and it takes a lot of courage to come out and seek for help like you are. :)
    If you go to your local GP they will be able to give a referral to a local Psychologist (the one I saw came to the practice every Sunday and also did phone consults), and it was all bulk billed, iirc it was either 5 or 10 bulk billed consults a year under medicare.

  • +16

    You may be eligible for a mental heath treatment plan.

    https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-treatment-plan...

    • This is the best advice.

      Please go and speak to your GP, they will be sensitive to affordability issues and perhaps able to refer you to suitable clinicians in your area.

    • +1

      There's usually still a gap I believe with the mental health plan.

    • Get a mhcp from your gp. Many bulk billing psychology providers in my local area.. 20 sessions included due to covid.

      Keep shopping until you find the right person is my advice.

  • +5

    Lifeline and their phone line (13 11 14) is open for anyone to talk about anything. They are there 24/7.
    They are there to provide supports for all kinds of crisis you are going through.

    Outside of that, a visit to a GP would be good to start a mental health care plan like others have suggested.
    They'd have their referral lists as well, so they could help you find someone who would be suited to you.

    • This. As iridiumstem said, Lifeline is not only for people who are suicidal but also people going through crisis whether it be family, work related, financial, gambling, grief etc. If it's keeping you up at night, definitely give them a call.

      I would also check out the headtohealth website for relevant e-Mental health resources related to family and friends.

      While you're waiting for a psych appointment, these are some digital mental health resources which might help.

  • +3

    Go to your GP and get a mental health plan that will give you about $130 rebate for each session. Even if you can't find a bulk billing psychologist, the out of pocket should be less than $60/session. If you can't afford that, I believe you can find a bulk-billing psychologist if you check in different areas. Your GP might know psychologists in the area.

    • This

    • +2

      I'm not sure where this $130 number comes from.

      The actual Medicare rebate is exactly $88.70.

      A good psychologist will charge something like $190 per hour, so OP will be looking at something like $101 out-of-pocket payment for each visit.

      (OP should also be aware that "1 hour" of psychologist time actually means something like 45 or 50 minutes. It is standard psychologist practice for them to reserve 10 to 15 minutes for things such as writing up the notes related to the person's case.)

      • +1

        The $88.70 rebate is for a session of 50+ minutes. Clinical Psychologist rebates are $129.55 so I would say that is what they are referring to.

      • Online consultation rebate 128.40

        Individual Psychological Therapy via Telehealth

        MBS Item 91167
        Cost to claimant:$61.60
        Benefit paid:$128.40
        Total cost:$190.00

        http://www9.health.gov.au/mbs/fullDisplay.cfm?type=item&q=91...

        • Look at the subgroup, that is an item number for a clin psych. Telehealth appointments with a psychologist use the item number 80111.

    • If the psychologist charges what is recommended by APS (Australian Psychological Society), you'd pay $267 ish for an hour consultation (which is for 2021 to 2022 July?), from which you get the medicare rebates.

      I think that pricing is for a clinical psychologist (who charges more). I looked at the receipts I have, and I paid $260 before rebate.

      https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/about-psycholog...

      • I'm pretty sure most of them don't charge more than 200.

        • It might be different in different parts of Australia, since ACT is known for being expensive place to live and have a business in.
          I would not be surprised if they charge as much as they can to recoup all that.

          That pricing is basically what is "recommended" by APS, and what the practices psychologists charge can vary.

          Also, I think what I have been basically seeing a psychologist for would not be COVID-19 related, since it's been going on for awhile. They might fall under different things, different pricing as a result.

        • Mine used to charge 250.

        • That's nice to hear. It's rare in WA to charge under $200.

  • +5

    Check if your company has a support line you can call. Lots of big corporations do. Otherwise if you're a member of a union they often run similar services as do some superannuation/severance funds.

    • +3

      Yeah check to see if your work has EAP (employee assistance program).

      Often you can access your partner or parents workplace EAP as well. This is because their company wants stable family life for lest distracted employee. All economics.

  • +2

    The mental health industry is hugely struggling right now with massive wait lists so depending on where you live it might be difficult. A Mental Health Care Plan from your GP gives you up to 20 Medicare rebatable sessions each year (10 as standard + an additional 10 currently due to covid) so you'll get $88.70 back each session.

    Not for profits like the ones mentioned already would be your best bet as private clinics generally can't cover costs for the $88.70 bulk bill rate. Saying that, it can be a case of you get what you pay for so if paying some money out of pocket is affordable it may be worth doing so.

    Counsellors can also be great but aren't Medicare rebatable. If you are with Bupa or Medibank and have good extras cover the cost of the session can be covered with registered counsellors.

  • +1

    Looks like plenty of great suggestions. It can be hard to locate a bulk billing Psych on your own, let alone a Doctor that bulk bills these days.
    I know Hunter Primary Care in the Newcastle area has in the past done this. The 1st step of course, is to contact your GP, or one of the services above via phone.
    If things do deteriorate, then visit your nearest hospital, that caters for mental health, who should be able to put you in the right direction.
    Most importantly, let your partner know that something is not right, and that you need help of some sort.

  • +4

    If cost is an issue, check out your local universities. Often they have student clinics you can visit for very affordable rates. The provisional psychologists you would speak to are postgraduate students and were the best of the best in order to get into the postgraduate course to become a clinical psychologist.

    You might also have an EAP through your or your wife's work that provides access to a psychologist. Ive used the EAP service provided through my Dad's work to speak with a psychologist previously as it also covered immediate family members.

  • Agree with others above who have recommended EAP.

  • As someone else said - start with your GP.

  • Depending on your job, check with HR.
    I haven't had a workplace that didn't offer free external psych services yet.

  • Bulk billed by getting a mental health care plan from your GP. But be prepared to wait 3-6 months for a free psych appointment

    Even private psychs are 2-3 months wait for appointments currently

  • Has anyone been successful making a private health claim on the gap?

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