Changes to fees as of 1st of June
From the start of next month we’ll be introducing changes to our fees and how Medicare rebates are processed. Previously we simply charged clients a Gap payment. As of next June we will need to charge our full fee and you will receive the rebate from Medicare in your bank account.
- Payment changes to up-front payment for full fee instead of just Gap payment.
- Rebates are now automatically paid back into your account within 1-2 business days of invoice payment.
- After rebate the remaining Gap out of pocket amount changes to $59.90, an increase of $9.90 after rebate.
- Note this does not effect NDIS clients who do not operate under Medicare.
What do I need to do?
Existing clients should Click here to fill our online intake form to update your details. This will allow you to enter information necessary for Medicare Rebates processing and card details for optional automatic payment of invoices if that is your preference.
Why the change – short version
- Medicare rebates have been frozen since 2014.
- Cost of living and other costs associated with providing mental health services have not.
- Medicare requires us to charge you up front if we are not bulk billing you.
The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) lists the services the Australian government will provide a Medicare rebate for. Medicare rebates don’t cover the full cost of services and are typically paid as a percentage of the Medicare schedule fee.
There is often a gap between what Australians pay for services and the amount that Medicare reimburses (A$77.10 for a counselling consultation, for example). This out-of-pocket expense is known as a Gap, as the client is required to make up the difference out of his or her own pocket.
Organisations such as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) have long argued this process is inadequate and Medicare schedule fees have not kept up with “real” increases in costs to medical practitioners of delivering services.
The rebate freeze compounds this financial challenge by continuing to keep prices at what the AMA and others argue are “unsustainable levels”. The freeze to Medicare rebate increases was introduced in 2014 and is still in effect.
The freeze means those professionals who have not seen it lifted are reimbursed the same for delivering health services today as they were in 2014.
Why there is a GAP
Professionals are paying more for their practices, staff, medical products, utilities and just about anything else that goes into running a health service. But the rebate amount paid remains static. GP clinics’s can cover this shortfall by seeing more patients in an hour. Other professionals such as Counsellors are restricted to minimum consultation times (50 minutes) and introduce a GAP to cover changes to living and operating costs over time while still achieving a living income.
We apologise for any inconvenience these changes may cause, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Director and Principal Counsellor
My Counselling Clinic