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People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent: Medicare funded services

The following frequently asked questions aim to address some of the key questions about accessing psychological services under the Medicare Follow-up Allied Health Services for People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Descent inititative.

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Under the Medicare-funded services for People of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent initiative, Medicare rebates are available for assessment and treatment services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have had a health assessment from their GP and require follow-up allied health services.

A person is eligible for this service if they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and had a health assessment during which the medical practitioner identified a need for follow-up allied health services. The client must not be an admitted patient of a hospital.

A referral to a Medicare-registered psychologist must be made by a GP who has checked your health and identified a need for follow-up allied health services.

Medicare rebates are available for up to five allied health services in total per calendar year. The annual limit of five allied health services isin addition to other allied health services such as the Chronic Disease Management or Better Access to Mental Health Care services.

It is important to note that the available services under this initiative are the total number of services available for all allied health service providers, not the number of services provided by a psychologist alone.

It is the responsibility of the referring medical practitioner to allocate these services in keeping with your needs.

The cost to you will vary depending on the length of the session and the fee being charged by the psychologist.

The cost for a session with a psychologist may be greater than the Medicare rebate, so you may need to pay the difference between what the psychologist charges you and the Medicare rebate you receive.

In some instances a psychologist may choose to bulk bill (e.g. health care card holders), in which case you will not have to pay anything.

The payment arrangements will vary and you should check these with the psychologist before commencing assessment or treatment sessions.

Yes. You are responsible for paying any charges in excess of the Medicare rebate for treatment under this initiative. However, these out-of-pocket expenses will count towards the Medicare Safety Net.The Medicare Safety Net is designed to protect high users of health services from large out-of-pocket expenses. For more information on the Medicare Safety Net, go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au.

You cannot use your private health insurance ancillary cover to top up the Medicare rebates for these services.

You need to decide if you will use Medicare or your private health insurance ancillary cover to pay for psychological services you receive.

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