Private Health Funds: To provide rebates for Counselling and Psychotherapy
I am writing to request rebates for counselling and psychotherapy from Private Health Funds under your Extras/Wellness cover. If rebates can be made available for counselling and psychotherapy, I would like to be able to claim for these services on my private health insurance. I know other people who would also be interested in these rebates.
Counselling and psychotherapy are valuable therapies that help improve mental health as well as general health and well-being. Large numbers of people in the community use counselling and psychotherapy services for these reasons.
Awareness of mental health and wellbeing is growing in the community but insufficient services are provided under Medicare to meet these health needs. It is very important for people who need counselling or psychotherapy to be able to access these essential ancillary health services. Private health insurance rebates would help to make counselling and psychotherapy more accessible.
Currently the rebates offered by private health funds are limited to "psychology". This is not fair as many people wish to see a counsellor/psychotherapist rather than a psychologist for their therapy. Counsellors and psychotherapists offer valuable ancillary health services, which are proven to be effective for a wide range of psychological issues.
People should be able to get a rebate when they see a counsellor/psychotherapist with the appropriate training, qualifications and experience; for example those registered with PACFA (www.pacfa.org.au) and listed on the Australian Register for Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.arcapregister.com.au). If people see a registered counsellor/psychotherapist who has good standing in the profession, they should be able to claim for these services on their private health insurance.
I request that Private Health Funds recognise registered counsellors and psychotherapists and provide Extras/Wellness Cover for counselling and psychotherapy in your insurance products. Not only would I be interested in these products but I know many other people with private health insurance - friends, family and colleagues - who would choose health insurance products which cover counselling and psychotherapy.
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