What will it cost?

Many services offered by health professionals are either free or partly paid for by the government under Medicare. Don't let the cost put you off getting support.
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How do referrals, Medicare rebates and other fees work?

You can receive financial discounts (or rebates) for services that can support you with anxiety, depression and other personal issues if you have a referral from a suitably qualified health professional such as a doctor (GP), a child psychiatrist or paediatrician.

When contacting a medical centre or health professional it’s important to check they provide bulk billing through Medicare.

Some services charge fees on top of Medicare benefits but they may offer a discount for health care card holders (e.g. students) or those with special circumstances. Some services are also covered by private health insurance. 

Talk about the fees when you first contact a health centre so you can be clear on what the costs are.

headspace centres

headspace provides information and services to 12-25 year olds, their families and friends through their websiteheadspace centres, eheadspace (online counselling service), the Digital Work and Study Service and headspace School Support, a post-vention suicide support program. 

Headspace centres across Australia offer a range of services for youth such as GPs, psychologists, counsellors, social workers and youth workers for free, or at a low cost. You can find your nearest headspace centre here.

You can ask if there is a cost when you make your appointment. Some services require you to have a referral from a doctor; but don't worry, headspace can help you with this as well. 

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Doctors/General Practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals

Many doctors (GPs) bulk bill through Medicare, which means they charge the Government for your consultation and you don’t have to pay anything. You just need to show your Medicare card to reception before your appointment.

Doctors can be found at Headspace Centres, Medical Centres and Community Health Centres. These places usually allow bulk billing and don’t require an appointment, so you can just turn up, quote your Medicare number and see a doctor.

If it’s your first visit to a health centre, you will probably have to provide some personal contact details.

To find a centre in your area, look up ‘Community Health Services’ in the White Pages or visit findus.humanservices.gov.au

What can doctors do for me?

Doctors (GPs) can refer you to access a range of support services (e.g. psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, social workers and youth workers etc.) for free or at a reduced cost through Medicare by creating a Mental Health Treatment Plan for you.

A Child Psychiatrist or Paediatrician can also provide these referrals for you. 

Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS)

The ATAPS program provides short-term support if you are experiencing mild to moderate mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

Through ATAPS, you can access up to 12 support sessions with a psychologist, clinical psychologist, social worker, or mental health nurse.

ATAPS is primarily designed for people on low incomes who are unable to access support due to financial reasons. You need to hold a current health care card and be referred by your doctor.

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What is the difference between support professionals?

There are slight differences between the type of support you can receive from school counsellors, youth workers, doctors (GPs), psychologists and psychiatrists.

To find out about the different professionals and what they can offer you, check out beyondblue’s videos from the ‘Getting help’ series, which provide a good description of each. 

How do I get my own Medicare card?

If you are aged 15 or older, you can have your own Medicare card.

To transfer to your own Medicare card, you need to visit a DHS Centre with identification and fill out a Medicare Copy/Transfer Application form.

If one of your parents wants to do this for you, both of you will need to complete the Medicare Copy/Transfer Application form.

Medicare can be pretty tricky to get your head around, so it is okay to feel a little confused.

  • Ask a trusted adult or teacher to sit down with you and help you understand.
  • Ask a pharmacist if they would be able to explain it to you.
  • Ask the reception staff at your GP to explain it to you.

For more information on how Medicare, billing and claiming works see Medicare Services.

Am I entitled to a Health Care Card?

Having a Health Care Card means you can get cheaper prescription medicines and medical services funded by the Australian Government.

You will be automatically issued a Health Care Card if you get any of these payments:

More detail can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/health-care-card/eligibility


Private health insurance

If your parents have Private Health Insurance you are probably covered by their policy. If you are under 21 or a full time student aged between 21 and 25 you may be covered by your parents’ policies as part of their ‘Extras’ cover. It’s best to check with your family’s policies for these details.

If you are not a student, you may still be covered by your parent’s policy – you need to check with them.

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