Private Health Funds
AMHSWs are highly skilled and regulated private practitioners who hold Medicare Provider Numbers and are eligible for rebates from Medicare for clinical mental health services, such as the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care program.
AMHSWs are not included as ‘Ancillary Providers’ by most Australian private health funds. The AASW asserts that the current situation places AMHSWs at a competitive disadvantage and many consumers at a disadvantage both financially and in terms of receiving assistance for mental health issues.
Thanks to the advocacy work of the AASW, AMHSWs are now included under Teachers Health Fund and Bupa and we are continuing in our efforts to end this unfair and arbitrary exclusion.
- AASW Advocacy and latest updates
- Get Involved: Member Action
- Successful Advocacy: Teachers Health Fund and Bupa
AMHSWs are not included in the list of allied health providers who are identified by several Australian private health funds (except Teachers Health Fund and more recently Bupa) as ‘Ancillary Providers’. This means that consumers who are insured for ‘extras’ are not able to claim against their insurance for provision of services by Accredited Mental Health Social Workers.
AMHSWs are regulated private practitioners who hold Medicare Provider Numbers and are eligible for rebates from Medicare for clinical mental health services, such as the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care program. AMHSWs are accredited members of the AASW and represent one of the highest standards in professional recognition. They are subject to the same accreditation requirements as both their registered and self-regulated allied health counterparts, such as psychologists, physiotherapists, dietitians and speech pathologists, in adhering to professional and ethical standards, maintaining Continuing Professional Development and engaging in professional supervision.
In order to achieve AMHSW accreditation, social workers must be able to demonstrate: appropriate use of evidence-based interventions; integrating concepts of recovery into practice; utilising a psychosocial assessment and formulation addressing physical, psychological and social aspects of the person and their situation; and basing interventions on the best evidence available.
The AASW asserts that the current situation places AMHSWs at a competitive disadvantage and many consumers at a disadvantage both financially and in terms of receiving assistance for mental health issues.
Without a change in the current situation, consumer choice in accessing health care is significantly limited.
The AASW is engaged in continuous advocacy action with private health providers calling for immediate change. As we are engaging with individual providers separately, there has been varied progress.
We have also raised this issue in the appropriate federal forums, for example see the AASW's Report to the Australian Senate on Private Health Insurance.
We will continue to update members as any new information becomes available.
Below is our briefing paper, published in October 2022.
July - October S2020
The AASW has been working with Industry peaks to further enhance our presence int his space and in the last couple of months the AASW CEO has recently met with Private Healthcare Australia about supporting dialogue with their member funds. The approach to the Private Health insurance campaign promotes AMHSW’s as “Specialists in Mental Health”.
It is informed by the successful methodology adopted in gaining Teachers Health and its sub-brands, UniHealth Insurance and Nurses and Midwives Health, provided their 300,000 Top Extras Cover members with access to services provided by Accredited Mental Health Social Workers as a private health insurance benefit. The campaign has also successfully gained TAC and WorkSafe Victoria.
A resource to support our case is being developed as a tool highlighting the benefits for Private Health Insurers. Some key messages in this include that AASW Credentialed Social Workers are addressing the urgent demand for suitable mental health services, following the bushfires and during the current COVID-19 pandemic through numerous schemes including Medicare, NDIS, DVA and some private health funds. It also includes case studies and testimonials from providers and clients.
The AASW is continuing to update members through our communication channels.
We encourage all AASW members who have a private health insurance to write to their provider and request that they include Accredited Mental Health Social Workers.
We have included a letter template that you can use, click here.
From 1 April 2022, eligible Bupa members can claim benefits for services delivered by Accredited Mental Health Social Workers.
Learn more about the private health funds that include AMHSWs as ancillary providers.
In April 2017, Teachers Health Fund and its sub-brands, UniHealth Insurance and Nurses and Midwives Health, announced they would provide their 300,000 Top Extras Cover members with access to services provided by Accredited Mental Health Social Workers as a private health insurance benefit.
The move was an exciting policy change to improve fund members' access to mental health service. It was due to the AASW's continued advocacy and close monitoring by the funds of the AASW’s progress through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme and self-regulation.