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Changes to Private Health Insurance: Mental Health

From April 1, 2019 privately-insured Australians may find it easier to access mental health services.

The Federal Government says a major focus of the private health insurance overhaul is creating better access to mental health services and drug and alcohol treatments. Some of these changes were initiated last year, while others commenced on 1 April, 2019.

Under the new private health reforms, mental health services will soon be at least partially covered by all private hospital insurance policies, even the lower coverage ones. From 1 April, 2019, insurers will begin classifying their hospital policies into four main tiers of cover: Basic, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Insurers will have until 1 April, 2020 to implement these changes for all products.

As part of the new tiered system, all policy tiers must include hospital psychiatric services as part of their minimum cover. If you have a Basic, Bronze or Silver tier policy, your insurer may offer hospital psychiatric services on a restricted or limited basis.

According to the government, this means you could potentially end up paying some out-of-pocket expenses to access these treatments. On the other hand, Gold tier policies must offer hospital psychiatric services on an unrestricted basis. This means your insurer must cover all the treatments available.

If you’re considering taking out a policy with restricted psychiatric services cover, be sure to check with your insurer for a full list of what is and isn’t covered.

  To find out more about the reform changes, click here.

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