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    Thousands benefitting from timely mental health treatment

    Mental health

    More Australians under the age of 40 than any other age group are having their mental health hospital treatment fast-tracked without having to serve a health insurance waiting period.

    One in 5 Australians will experience a mental health issue each year but more than half won’t access any treatment.

    But since the introduction of government reforms in 2018, customers with lower levels of cover have been able to access inpatient mental health care without having to serve a two-month waiting period.

    That’s meant that we have seen a rise in people being able to access mental health hospital treatment when they need it most.

    In the first two years of the mental health waiver, more than 2,800 customers have been able to fast-track in-hospital psychiatric care, with half of those aged under 40.

    Customers using the waiver only had to wait an average of four days before receiving treatment and stayed an average of 18 days in hospital during their first admission.

    They spent a total of 62,000 days in hospital over a two-year period. The most common reasons for hospital admission were depression, drug and alcohol use, and anxiety disorders.

    Medibank paid more than $190 million last financial year in benefits nationally for all mental health-related hospital admissions.

    In addition to the waiver for in-hospital psychiatric treatment, we are continuing to focus on delivering products and services that make accessing mental health support, whether at home or in your local community, simpler and easier.

    We believe that having access to preventative and primary healthcare options for mental health conditions will have a positive effect and improve outcomes for our customers.

    To support our customers’ mental health, we have recently rolled out Live Better activities, resources through our healthy mind hub and treatment via our 24/7 Mental Health Phone Support (1800 644 325).

    In order to increase mental health support for our customers, Medibank introduced counselling services to eligible extras cover in October last year, to complement the existing psychological services provided to customers.

    There were almost 68,000 psychology services last year both face-to-face and via telehealth to support our customers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We remain focused on making it easier for our customers to get the support they need, when they need it.

    Further information: A Medibank evaluation of the reforms was published in Australian Health Review.

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