Fees and Rebates
Fees and rebates depend on the type of health professional you see:
Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government's Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This scheme provides considerable assistance to people living with mental heath problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental healthcare. The scheme allows for persons with “Drug use disorders” up to 12 individual services in a calendar year. (Your referring doctor will assess your progress after the first six sessions) and up to 12 group therapy services in a calendar year where such services are available and seen as appropriate by your referring doctor and the psychologist.
The cost to you will vary depending on the length of the session and the fee being charged by the psychologist.
If the psychologist decides to bulk bill then you will not have to pay anything. However, if the psychologist does not bulk bill then you must pay the difference between what the psychologist charges you (a fee set by the psychologist) and the Medicare rebate. This will vary and you should check this with the psychologist before commencing your treatment.
Medicare Safety Net: you are responsible for paying any charges in excess of the Medicare rebate for services under this scheme. However, these out-of-pocket expenses will count towards the Medicare Safety Net. The Medicare Safety Net is designed to protect high users of health services from large out-of-pocket expenses.
Many health funds provide a rebate for members accessing tobacco cessation treatment through a psychologist or clinical psychologist. Rebates vary depending on the health fund and the person’s level of cover. Please check with your health fund about rebates and your eligibility to make a claim.
Consultations with registered medical practitioners who specialise in tobacco treatment are billed like visits to your doctor. You can claim a rebate from Medicare and will need to pay the balance of the account out of your pocket. If the doctor bulk-bills the services are provided at no charge to you.
Pharmacists do not charge a fee for assisting a smoker to quit. They are the most accessible health professional and are in an ideal position to provide quit smoking information, recommend and assist with Nicotine Replacement Therapy and offer ongoing support.
Prescription medications to help you quit smoking are subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Beneficts Scheme. These include nicotine patches (Nicabate, Nicotinell, Nicorette), varenicline (Champix) and bupropion (Zyban, Pretaxon). With the subsidy, a month’s supply of these medications is currently $34.20 or $5.60 for pensioners and holders of Health Care Cards. Veterans may (if they are eligible for pharmacy benefits) be eligible to claim a rebate under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Nicotine patches purchased over-the-counter without a prescription are not subsidised, nor are other over-the-counter medications, such as nicotine lozenge, gum, inhaler and microtabs.