Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Mental health: Medicare and private health insurance

Both Medicare and private health insurance can support you with mental health issues, but the details are a little different.

What you need to know

  • Medicare can offer up to 10 yearly sessions with a psychologist, but you will need a GP referral.
  • Most common medication for mental health conditions are covered by the PBS (SSRIs, for example).
  • If you need more sessions, private health insurance can help with the cost of seeing a mental health professional.
THERE IS ALWAYS SUPPORT AVAILABLE

If things have gotten really bad, please talk to someone right away. If you don't have time to get to your GP fast enough, here are some phone numbers you can use right away.

Hospital cover for psychiatric services

If you need to go to hospital for psychiatric services, you are covered as a public patient under Medicare. To be covered as a private patient, you'll need private hospital cover. Specifically, you'll need a hospital policy that has full coverage for psychiatric services. A lot of cheaper policies have restricted cover for this, but that will cover very little of the treatment costs, so make sure you get something with proper coverage. This is always covered under Gold policies, but can be covered on some Bronze Plus and Silver Plus roles too.

Psychiatric care has some special waiting periods exemptions. Psychiatric care has a 2 month waiting period, even if there are pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions normally trigger a 12 month waiting period, but this one is an exception.

Extras cover with psychology benefits

Below are " rel="noopener" target="_blank">extras policies that cover psychology from Finder partners. Each policy will have a yearly limit, as well as a set amount you can claim back per session.

Name Product Treatments Price Apply
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +4 other treatments covered
$73.20
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +4 other treatments covered
$49.53
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +4 other treatments covered
$65.67
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +4 other treatments covered
$76.33
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +4 other treatments covered
$48.59
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +4 other treatments covered
$59.48
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +6 other treatments covered
$76.64
per month
Frank More Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +5 other treatments covered
$59.33
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
$34.04
per month
Advanced Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +6 other treatments covered
$76.22
per month
loading

All prices are based on a single individual with less than $93,000 income and living in Sydney.

Why compare health insurance with Finder?

  • We don't ask for your phone or email to see prices.

  • With 1 click, you can open your results to nearly every fund in Australia.

  • You pay the same price as going direct – we charge no fees.

Start comparing for freeStart comparing for free

What do we mean when we talk about mental health?

Mental health refers to how you feel emotionally and psychologically and how you're able to weather the ups and downs of life. It covers all of the following:

  • Your mood
  • Your ability to make good decisions
  • How you behave
  • How you handle stress
  • How you relate to others

You can think of mental illness as a health problem that significantly affects any of the abilities mentioned above. According to the Black Dog Institute, a leading non-profit Australian mental health organisation, one in five Australians is living with a mental illness at any given time.

What healthcare support is there in Australia?

Mental health treatment sometimes requires a cocktail of treatments and medications. Luckily, there is a variety of professionals who are trained to treat various aspects of mental illness. These include:

Fracture
General practitioners. This should be the first port of call for anyone needing help with a mental health condition. GPs can coordinate the treatment of mild mental issues by prescribing medication and/or referring the patient to a psychologist for therapy. For more serious cases, they may be referred to a psychiatrist for further diagnosis.
Income protection
Psychologists. You would visit a psychologist for therapy or counselling. Psychologists can help with almost all mental issues, from the mildest conditions to the most severe. You can see them without a referral and without needing to be on medication.
Income protection
Psychiatrists. These are medical specialists who have trained to diagnose and treat mental disorders. They take on more severe cases that a GP is not qualified to diagnose. Psychiatrists can prescribe specialised medication and lay out a treatment plan that may also include therapy.

The Better Access Initiative

In 2006, the Australian government launched the Better Access initiative, which gives people improved access to mental health treatments under Medicare.

Under this initiative, anyone with a mental health issue is covered for up to 10 sessions with a qualified psychologist and psychiatrist. All that's required is that you see your GP first to get a mental health treatment plan.

If you require hospitalisation, Medicare will cover you for treatment in a public hospital.

Why you can trust Finder's health insurance experts

free

We're free

Our health insurance engine is completely free to use. You pay the same as buying directly from the health insurer. Better still, we regularly run exclusive deals that you won't find on any other site.
expert advice

We're experts

We've researched and rated hundreds of policies as part of our Finder Awards. We've published 250+ guides and our in-house experts regularly appear on Sunrise, 7News and SBS News.
independent

We're independent

Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and you can compare nearly every health fund in Australia on the site (and find a better deal).
help

We're here to help

Since 2014, we've helped 350,000+ people find health insurance by explaining your options simply. We'll never ask for your number or email to see prices. We're here to help you make a decision.

More guides on Finder

  • Health insurance premium rates 2024

    Get the lowdown on what's happening, so you can get a better deal on your health insurance.

  • Frank Overseas Visitor Health Cover

    Frank Health Insurance provides Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) for 457, 482 and 485 visas. Find out if it has a policy that's right for you.

  • Health insurance for gastroscopy

    Need health cover for gastroscopy? Find out how private health insurance and Medicare cover treatment and compare the costs for the most affordable option.

  • ahm Health Insurance Review

    Review the various ahm health insurance options available and helps you decide whether any of its policies are what you need.

  • Medibank Health Insurance Review

    Medibank offers policy options to suit people with a wide range of needs and budgets.

  • Frank health insurance review

    Frank Insurance, owned by GMHBA, aims to make health insurance simple, easy to understand and affordable.

  • HCF health insurance review

    Looking for health cover? This article helps you by looking at HCF's health insurance options and lets you decide whether any of its policies are what you need.

  • Health Insurance Victoria

    If you’re looking for private health insurance in Victoria, compare the most popular health funds in your state and how much it costs to take out cover.

  • Bupa health insurance review

    Bupa health insurance offers different levels of cover for better health services but also provides tax benefits and prevents government penalties.

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our 1. Terms Of Service and 6. Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site