Frequently Asked Questions

for existing and prospective clients
Can I claim a rebate for the cost of my sessions under Medicare?

Yes you can. Since 2006, psychologists can claim a Medicare rebate for their clients under the Medicare scheme Better Access to Mental Health. This has been an enormous help to people as it has opened up psychological assistance to a vast number of Australians who might otherwise not have been able to seek the assistance of highly trained and skilled psychologists.

Better Access requires a client to obtain a Mental Health Plan (MHP) from a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. For most people, this will be their own GP. Obtaining the MHP usually involves an extended consultation with the GP, so it’s a good idea to let the surgery know that’s what you’re seeing the doctor for, when making your booking.

Do I need a Mental Health Plan to claim Medicare?

Yes. Without a MHP, Medicare will not pay you a rebate.

Which issues are covered under the Better Access to Mental Health scheme?

The official list of disorders covered under the scheme can be read in the table below.

Medicare items covered for psychological therapy

  • Chronic psychotic disorders
  • Acute psychotic disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Phobic disorder
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Unexplained somatic complaints
  • Depression
  • Sexual disorders
  • Conduct disorder
  • Bereavement disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic disorder
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Drug use disorders
  • Mixed anxiety and depression
  • Dissociative (conversion) disorder
  • Neurasthenia
  • Sleep problems
  • Hyperkinetic (attention deficit) disorder
  • Enuresis (non-organic)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Mental disorder, not otherwise specified

However, aside from these more ‘diagnosable’ difficulties, many people come along as a result of the effects of significant stress in their life coming from personal issues at work, in the home and in relationships. Also, people who want to change something in their life, eg., the use of nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, gambling, pornography, are also covered by Medicare.

How much is the Medicare rebate?

The Medicare rebate to see Dr Edser is $84.80.

How is payment made at Newcastle Psychology & Health?

Payment can be made with either cash or card (credit or debit). Full EFTPOS facilities are available.

Can I receive my Medicare rebate back at my appointment?

Yes, but not in cash. The Medicare rebate can be processed by reception staff and put back into a cash card account. Typically, it goes back into your account either almost immediately or within a few hours. The staff must be able to swipe your Medicare card as well as your cash account card, so it is important that you bring your Medicare card with you.

Note Well. Medicare rebates cannot be allocated back to a credit card account.

Do I have to be registered for Medicare for the rebate to be allocated to me?

No, psychologists have been given a different system to that of the GPs. You do not need to be registered with Medicare, but you will need a Mental Health Plan.

How many sessions does the Better Access to Mental Health allow for?

The Better Access scheme allows for ten sessions. These are divided up into two lots.

  • Sessions 1 – 6 followed by your returning to your doctor for a review. The psychologist is also required to send him/her a brief report on progress.
  • Sessions 7 – 10 follow if the psychologist and doctor feel the need to continue treatment.
How long is a Mental Health Plan active for?

Twelve months. After this time, the MHP expires.

Do I have to have a Mental Health Plan to see a NPH psychologist?

No. No-one needs a referral or a MHP to see a Psychologist in Australia, but if you want a Medicare rebate, you will need a Mental Health Plan.

Are sessions covered by Private Health Insurance?

Yes, although minimally. The rebates from Private Health Insurance differ depending on what kind of cover you have purchased. None of them offers as much as the Better Access to Mental Health scheme.

Can I use both Medicare and Private Health?

No. The Australian Government has specified that you can use one or the other (or just pay yourself with no rebate at all) but not both.

Do you bulk-bill?

Other than in exceptional circumstances and then only when a personal arrangement is offered by the clinician, NPH does not bulk-bill.

How many sessions will I need?

As you might imagine, it is very difficult for us to tell you how many sessions you might need. Dr Edser and associates will have a better idea by the completion of your first session. Typically, people come in to see Dr Edser for anything from 3-6 sessions, but others use their full ten allocated Medicare sessions and sometimes more depending on the severity or the complexity of the issues.

Is hypnotherapy covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not specify which modalities clinicians use. If you are seeking hypnotherapy Dr Edser says it may be very helpful but has learned from experience that it is best used as an adjuvant therapy (serving to help or assist), not a standalone magic bullet. While hypnotherapy, like other modalities, itself is not covered by Medicare, many of the issues that Dr Edser uses it for, are covered. For more information about Dr Edser and how he practises, we invite you to take a look at his page on this website which has some good descriptions. There is a specific and very informative Hypnotherapy page there for you as we ll.

Where do I park?

NPH is situated about half way along Kendall Street – No. 20 – which is a long street stretching from Lambton Park and Lizotte’s at one end all the way down to Lambton Public School on Croudace Street at the other, covering two blocks. Clients will usually find a park somewhere along Kendall Street. Alternatively, there is a public car park in De Vitre Street behind the shops and you can walk from the car park down a small connecting lane out onto Elder Street and make your way from there. If you take this alternative, NPH is directly behind Bar121. There is no client parking on-site. To view a map of the area, please go to our Contact Us page.