It’s the basis of Australia’s health care system, but how much do you really know about Medicare?
The little green Medicare card in your wallet could save you a lot more than you think.
Here are 13 allied health professionals you didn’t know (and should know) you can claim on.
Read on to find out if you’re eligible. It could change your medical bills, and life.
Here is a list of the allied health professionals eligible to provide services under Medicare provided by The Australian Government Department of Health’s Medicare Benefits Schedule:
1. Chiropractors registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia.
2. Dietitians recognised by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) as an ‘Accredited Practising Dietitian’.
3. Physiotherapists registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.
4. Occupational therapists registered with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia.
5. Osteopaths registered with the Osteopathy Board of Australia.
6. Podiatrists registered with the Podiatry Board of Australia.
7. Exercise physiologists accredited by Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) as an ‘Accredited Exercise Physiologist’.
8. Diabetes educators credentialed by the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator (CDE).
9. Social workers certified by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as meeting the standards for mental health set out in the document published by AASW titled ‘Practice Standards for Mental Health Social Workers’ and must be a ‘Member’ of the AASW.
10. Psychologists registered in the health profession of psychology under the applicable law in force in the State or Territory in which the service is provided.
11. Speech pathologists must be a ‘Practising Member’ of Speech Pathology Australia.
12. Audiologists either a ‘Full Member’ of the Audiological Society of Australia Inc (ASA), who holds a ‘Certificate of Clinical Practice’ issued by the ASA; or an ‘Ordinary Member – Audiologist’ or ‘Fellow Audiologist’ of the Australian College of Audiology (ACAud).
13. Mental health workers and mental health nurses. Mental health nurses must be certified by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses; however, mental health services can be provided by five different allied health professional groups.
Mental health workers include psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, Aboriginal health workers as well as mental health nurses.
Turns out Medicare rebates go a lot further than covering the odd visit to the doctor.
But not everyone is eligible for these services.
Those eligible to claim on these services must have chronic medical conditions with complex care needs.
Chronic medical conditions include, but are not limited to: asthma, cancer, cardiovascular illness, diabetes mellitus, musculoskeletal conditions, and stroke.
If you suffer from one of these conditions, it must be terminal or present for at least six months to be classified as a chronic medical condition.
Alongside this, you must require complex care needs.
This is the need for a variety of health professionals including your GP or medical practitioner as well as two or more other health or care providers.
On top of that, the rebates on allied health services must be recommended by a GP or medical practitioner.
Keep in mind, Medicare benefits are available for up to five allied health services, per year.
Here’s a Medicare recap to set things straight.
The Low Down:
The general understanding of Medicare rebates falls into three main categories: hospital, medical and pharmaceutical.
Under Medicare, you can be treated for free in a public hospital, claim a range of medical services for free or at a lower cost, plus get lower cost prescription medication.
If you live with a chronic medical condition and require complex care needs, then you could claim on services from specific allied health professionals, provided you have a recommendation from your GP or medical practitioner.
So, if you are eligible for any of the services listed above, talk to your GP or medical practitioner and see what that little green Medicare card can do for your medical bills and quality of life.