What Medicare programs are currently available for Mental Health Services?

Many different Commonwealth-funded programs are available for people (including children) needing access to Mental Health Services.

It is important to note that these programs come with strict acceptance criteria and ongoing conditions. It is important that you make all the necessary enquiries about these programs and your eligibility before requesting any services

Medicare benefits are available for a range of specified psychology services for people with certain conditions. To receive psychological services under Medicare, a person must be referred by his/her GP or in some instances by a psychiatrist or a paediatrician.

The Medicare programs currently available are:

Better Access

The most common program for accessing psychological services, the Better Access program, provides rebates for certain consultations with registered psychologists.

This program is available for people of any age. It gives patients rebates for up to 10 individual psychological sessions (delivered as 6 + 4 sessions after GP review) each calendar year (1 January – 31 December).

Under this the updated version of this scheme (July 2023), clients can claim rebates for sessions with:

  • The Patient
  • Family of Carrer Sessions (up to two sessions). These items replace sessions where you would provide individual treatment to the client and Will come off the client’s 10 available sessions for the year.
  • Case Conferences with other health professionals

The session can be online or in person. The Better Access Medicare items must not be used for the purposes of psychological assessment. 

Group sessions are also available in addition to individual sessions.

To learn more, visit MBS Online. Please read the article explaining this program.

Helping Children with Autism

This initiative helps children with autism or any other pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Each child can access:

  • up to 4 Medicare items for assessment services (up to the age of 13 years) and, Medicare items for
  • up to 20 early intervention treatment services for eligible children up to the age of 15 years (provided their treatment and management plans are in place by age 13).

Better Start for Children with Disability

Children who have sight impairment, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and some genetic conditions (see the Department of Health website for a full list of eligible conditions) can access:

  • Up to 4 Medicare items for assessment contributing to the development of a treatment plan for eligible children up to 13 years of age.
  • Medicare items for up to 20 treatment services for eligible children up to 15 years (provided their treatment and management plans are in place by age 13).

Chronic Disease Management

People who have a chronic medical condition and complex care needs can access up to 5 individual services (in total) per calendar year (inclusive of all eligible allied health services).

Find out more about chronic disease management.

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