UPDATE - The COVID-19 medicare Telehealth sessions are now available to ALL Australians who have an existing Mental Health Care Plan. This means you can still have your sessions while in Isolation. Your sessions will be Bulk-billed, meaning you have ZERO out of pocket costs. But you must have a doctors referral MHCP under one of the better access schemes. e.g. Eating disorders, Pregnancy health, DVA, or a diagnosed disorder: Depression, anxiety etc.
"From Monday 30 March to 30 September all Australians eligible to receive services under Medicare will be able to access to bulk-billed psychological services delivered via telehealth (i.e., videoconference or phone) if clinically appropriate.These items form part of current psychology services under Medicare which can be used by eligible clients."
Medicare usually has strict guidelines on in person counselling. These rules have been relaxed somewhat due to the Covid-19 crisis and greater access to online counselling is possible.
If you are in isolation for the reasons below, and not simply by choice OR because the government has indicated so, you can get bulk-billed psychological counselling via Skype or zoom. Here are the Australian Psychological Society guidelines for accessing Telehealth. Vulnerable and isolated clients are eligible to receive telehealth services provided by a psychologist if:
the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus but who is not a patient of a hospital; or
the person has been required to isolate themselves in quarantine in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC); or
the person is considered more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus being a person who is:
at least 70 years old; or
at least 50 years old and is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; or
is pregnant; or
is a parent of a child under 12 months; or
is already under treatment for chronic health conditions or is immune compromised; or
the person meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.
the person is referred by:
a medical practitioner, either as part of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, or as part of a shared care plan or as part of a psychiatrist assessment and management plan; or
a specialist or consultant physician specialising in the practice of his or her field of psychiatry; or
a specialist or consultant physician specialising in the practice of his or her field of paediatrics; and
the service is provided to the person individually; and
at the completion of a course of treatment, the referring medical practitioner reviews the need for a further course of treatment; and