Cost of eating disorder treatment - Eating Disorders Victoria
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Cost of eating disorder treatment

Home ~ My recovery journey ~ Cost of eating disorder treatment

This page provides an overview of the costs associated with treatment for an eating disorder in Victoria. It is important to check with your treatment team to exact costs as these may change from time to time. 

Understanding the cost of treating an eating disorder can help you decide which treatment path is most suitable for you.

When it comes to treatment, there’s no one size fits all approach. Treatment for an eating disorder can vary greatly depending on many factors including your diagnosis, how you plan to access treatment (public/private system) and other practicalities such your individual circumstances, location and financial means. 

Navigating the treatment system can be daunting, especially if you are at the beginning of your recovery journey. It is important not to lose hope! Eating disorder treatment is a worthwhile investment with the odds of recovery and good quality of life very high. At EDV we understand that finding the right treatment options can sometimes be difficult. If you would like to speak to someone about accessing treatment, please get in touch with the EDV Hub.

Public health system

There are well established eating disorder inpatient, outpatient and day patient treatment programs available at Victorian public hospitals. There are no out of pocket costs for these programs however, places are limited and there are eligibility requirements.  For more information on the types of programs available in your area and how to access please see treatment options for adults or for children/adolescents. For further support, please contact the EDV hub. 

Medicare subsidies

Medicare subsidies can make accessing 1:1 treatment with clinicians in the community more affordable.

If you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, you may be able to access Medicare subsidies for treatment. There are specific ‘Eating Disorder Plans’ (EDP) which will give you up to 20 subsidised session with a Dietician and up to subsidised 40 sessions with a mental health clinician per calendar year. If you do not meet the requirements for an EDP then there are other Medicare rebates for mental health and dietetics that a GP can recommend, such as Mental Health Care Plans and Enhanced Primary Care Plans.

Cost breakdown

Costs and subsidies will vary considerably depending of the type of clinician, their fee structure, type of appointment (eg. Individual or group, in person or telehealth), type of treatment and length of appointment. Private clinicians set their own fees, although their are recommended fees from governing bodies, such as the Australian Psychological Society.

The table below outlines the common professionals you may see and the costs involved based on a standard session of 45 to 60 minutes. We’ve also included the fees at the EDV clinic as a reference, and the standard Medicare rebates available for these sessions. For a full breakdown of the item numbers and fees please see the Eating Disorders MBS item numbers Quick Reference Guide from the Department of Health.

FAQs
  • For most services, the full cost of the session is required to be paid directly to the clinician. You will then receive a rebate from Medicare.
  • The difference between the amount you pay to the clinician and your rebate from Medicare is known as a ‘gap’ payment. Gap payments are entirely dependent on the fees set by the clinician.
  • Bulk billing for eating disorder treatment with private clinicians is very rare. This means that for most clinicians you will have some out of pocket expense (i.e. a gap payment).
  • Some clinicians will offer discounted rates for eligible concession and health card holders, such as students and pensioners.
  • It is important to note that fees are completely dependent on the treating clinician. Professional bodies have recommended fee structures, however private clinicians can set their own fees. You should always ask for their fee structure before booking an appointment.

 

Professional    Recommended fee EDV clinic fees Medicare rebate
Clinical Psychologist $260 (from the Australian Psychological Society) $185 $128.40
Registered Psychologist $260 (from the Australian Psychological Society) $155 $87.45
Mental Health
Social Worker
$150 (from Australian Association of Social Workers) $145 $77.10
Dietitian $150 (from Dietitians Association Australia) $125 $54.60

Note: fees as of 01/01/2021

 

Why does treatment cost so much?

Eating disorder treatment is a specialized field. Clinicians are highly skilled and have had many years of tertiary education and ongoing professional development and training to be qualified in the various treatment modalities. Remember that the time you spend with a clinician is just one part of the investment. There are many things they may do outside of this time such as prepare/review treatment or meal plans and communicate with other practitioners involved in your care.

If you are struggling to pay for private treatment, it’s important to be open with your clinicians. Some clinicians may be able to offer alternative options for treatment, such as shorter sessions, complimentary supports or even a lower fee. If you do not have the conversation with them, you will never know!

Private health system

There are a number of private hospital eating disorder inpatient and outpatient treatment programs as well as private treating clinicians. When accessing private treatment it is highly recommended to have private health insurance and rebates will depend on your level of cover.

Most private health insurance have ‘hospital’ and ‘extras’ cover. Hospital cover may pay a significant portion of the cost if you are admitted to a private hospital for inpatient treatment. Most private health insurance hospital cover will have an ‘excess’ payment you may have to pay regardless. In addition, some cover may exclude certain parts of inpatient treatment such as hospital Psychiatric services. Extras cover may rebate you for the cost of appointments with private practitioners such as Dieticians and Psychologists.

As there are many factors that can influence potential costs of private treatment (such as your level of cover, excess payment, doctor’s fees, length and type of treatment) it is difficult to provide indicative costs. For example, for a short private hospital admission you could be out of pocket anywhere from $500-$10,000.

It is best to first contact the hospital or clinic directly and request a quote for the treatment you are interested in. Once you have an idea of the cost and the details, take this information to your insurance provider to confirm the treatment is included in your policy, if there is a waiting period and if there is any additional fees to pay.

Note that you cannot use private health cover for any ‘gap’ payments – it is only possible to apply for a Medicare subsidy OR private health fund rebate, not both. 

A reminder that you are worthy of treatment. You deserve to recover and love a life free from an eating disorder. Just like your super is invested for your retirement, try to think of treatment as an investment in your future health and happiness. You are doing this so that in the future you can live your life with freedom.

If you are struggling with finding motivation for recovery, it can be helpful to understand how you’re feeling through the stages of change.

Low-cost/free support services, education and resources

Subsidised options through work or university

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are on offer at some workplaces and support employees to confidentially receive mental health support services. Speak to your employer or HR manager to see if your workplace has an EAP that you can access.

If you are enrolled at a university, you will have access mental health support services. These services are often free or low cost, and can be a good starting point if you need help finding other low-cost services that you are eligible for.

For further help

If you would like any further information around the costs of treatment, finding appropriate clinicians, or just someone to talk to, please contact the EDV Hub. The Hub is available Mon – Fri, 9:30AM – 4:30PM.

Contact the Hub
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