If you're new to Australia you may not be familiar with bulk billing. Bulk billing essentially falls under the Medicare program and means the provider doesn't bill you, but Medicare and the provider accepts the relevant benefit as full payment. When you consider that many professional sessions may cost anywhere from $120 to $250+ per hour, this makes essential medical health services much more accessible to those on the breadline. Ultimately, thought it is the decision of providers to determine which billing method they use for each client. Providers are encouraged to bulk bill clients who are Health Care Card holders.
One of the things we found when were setting up TrueCounsellor was that it was extremely difficult to find out which provider offered bulk bulling and which didn't on some of the sites we were using. This gave us a lightbulb moment. What if we could provide detailed and relevant information to the searcher about the provider they were looking at. We got to thinking how this could be integrated into our search engine. We felt a bit like this
We finally came up with a solution that worked. Our solution enabled the searcher not only to find out if the provider offered bulk billing but lots more juicy tidbits. This included stuff we thought would be useful such as areas of expertise/specialisms, associations and organisation the provider belonged to, what other people thought of them regarding reviews and a whole host of other stuff. #Winning, or so we thought. If you've ever tried to modify algorithms you'll know it does always go to plan and can send results a bit skew-whiff. Anyway, we'll save the sob stories for later. We got there in the end and now our users can find psychologists Melbourne bulk bill, Perth, Sydney or wherever they may be.
Can't find a bulk billing practitioner in your area?
Unfortunately, not everyone offers bulk billing. If you can't find someone who offers bulk billing, there are plenty of other options to consider. If you don't have private health insurance then definitely consider getting it and carefully check your PHI policy and what extras are covered. It might be that you have to purchase the extras plan to get rebates for counselling and therapy sessions. Having private health cover with extras could save you lots in the long run. It's a bit of a minefield admittedly with different providers offering different levels of cover and rebates. We'd recommend using a site like PrivateHealth.gov if you don't want to be bombarded with lots of follow-up emails to get a quote from, mentioning no names ahem *cough* iSelect
Read the fine print
We find that different practices will have different requirements for bulk billing. For example, some methods such as The Three Seas offer their bulk billing service once you making a booking for ten sessions, as per their website:
"Bulk Billing Counselling Services For clients with a mental health Care Plan, we provide bulk billing psychologists through Medicare for ten sessions.
This means that you will not be required to pay for your sessions with your psychologist providing you attend pre-booked sessions." Source: TheThreeSeas.com.au
Other practices may be different and require a few number of pre-booked sessions. Always best to double check first.
Have you had troubles finding a bulk billing psychologist in your area? If so please comment below.