When you are the parent of a child or adult with a communication difficulty, the last thing you want to be worrying about is the affordability of Speech & Language Pathology services. Thankfully, in Australia there are a range of different schemes available to help you focus on getting the services you need. We have listed some of the most common schemes that people use.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Speech & Language Pathology services can be provided by the NDIS where it helps a participant meet their goals. This usually provides services with no out-of-pocket expenses for consumers. The NDIS also has an Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) program, which assists children with a developmental delay or disability.
There are three ways your NDIS plan can be managed
- Self-managed – you will be responsible for paying invoices
- Plan managed – a 3rd party ‘Plan Manager’ will be provided, and they will take care of billing and finances
- NDIA managed – The National Disability Insurance Agency will manage the payment of funds. With this method, you are only able to get services from NDIS registered providers, so your choice of providers is reduced. At this point, Speak for Yourself is not an NDIS registered provider.
The Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program is one of the Medicare programs which provide access for eligible clients to a Medicare rebate for Speech & Language Pathology services. Your GP will determine your eligibility for the program. A chronic condition is one that has been (or is likely to be) present for 6 months or longer. At the time of this post, Medicare will provide a rebate of up to $54.60 for up to 5 sessions in a year.
Private Health Insurance
Many of Australia’s private health insurance schemes such as Bupa and Medibank Private provide Speech & Language Pathology within their packages. These services generally have out of pocket expenses, and you will likely need to seek reimbursement from them directly. For more information, contact your fund.
What if none of the above work for me?
There are a range of other options that Australian’s should consider if they do not have access to any of the above systems.
- If you have concerns about your child but have not had an initial assessment to see if there are developmental difficulties, you may be able to get a referral from your GP to the Child Development Program by Queensland Health. This may be a good first step to assist in access to other schemes, such as the NDIS.
- University clinics provide services at a heavily discounted rate. These services are provided by student clinicians under the supervision of clinical educators. Not only do you get to save money, but you are also helping train the speech & language pathologists of the future. In Brisbane these include