Thinking of getting a mental care plan?

There’s plenty of misinformation out there around these, and who needs one. Let’s break it down.

A MCP (mental care plan) is a medicare rebate for those who need support for their mental health, and may need help to pay for this service. A MCP doesn’t mean therapy is cheaper. In fact, it’s probably more expensive.

First you need to see a GP to get a MCP. Your doctor must decide whether you have ‘an assessed mental health disorder’ that significantly interferes with your cognitive, emotional or social functioning.

Now, not all General Practitioners refer under this scheme, and if you can afford to pay for counselling you may not be eligible. If your doctor assesses that you are eligible, they will complete a Mental Health Care Plan, which will remain on your health record permanently.

If you get a MCP you will receive a rebate for up to 10 sessions with a psychologist who has a Medicare Provider number.  A Medicare rebate of $84.80 is available (if your doctor assesses you as eligible), which still leaves a gap fee payable by you.

The Australian Psychological Society recommended hourly fee for psychologists is $241. So with the MCP rebate, you’re out of pocket $156.20. Counsellors fee’s range from $60-150. Personally, I’m $110 an hour.

As for privacy, there isn’t any with a MCP. After you’ve had 6 sessions with a psychologist, then they will respond to the GP with a report on your sessions. Plus information stays on your medical file which could affect;

  • Life insurance coverage – you may be deemed as a risk and pay a higher premium
  • A position within a field that requires a mental evaluation such as the police force or ambulance service
  • Future employment opportunities or promotions

For a counsellor, it’s completely private, plus there is no limit to the number of sessions.

Did you know this? Or did you think that a MCP gave you free therapy? …