Cost of treatment

Many factors affect the cost of treatment. The information below is provided as a general guide. If you need more information, please ask your Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinician, or visit the Australian Government’s Head to Health website.  

In Australia, people experiencing eating disorders are eligible for support through Medicare, which can be set up by your GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician.   

Anyone with an eating or feeding disorder diagnosis can access:

  • Mental health support through a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) – including up to 10 sessions per calendar year, and 
  • Dietitian support through a Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDMP) – including up to 5 sessions per calendar year. 

People with anorexia nervosa or more complex and severe eating disorders may be eligible for greater support with an Eating Disorder Plan (EDP), providing: 

  • Evidence-based psychological treatment from a mental health professional – up to 40 sessions per 12 months, and 
  • Dietetic services from an Accredited Practising Dietitian – up to 20 sessions per 12 months. 

While you are seeing your mental health professional or dietitian, you should also continue seeing your GP for regular monitoring and reviews. Your GP will work with you and your team to determine how often they need to see you. With an EDP, you will need to see your GP for a review after at least every 10 psychological sessions. You will also need to see a psychiatrist or paediatrician by your 20th psychological session so that you can access further sessions if needed. 

Carers may also be eligible to receive up to 10 separate sessions for psychological services under their own MHCP to help them support their own mental health. 

You can find Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinicians who provide eating disorder care with Medicare rebates via the Find Eating Disorder Help page. 

Bulk billing

While some clinicians may bulk bill in certain circumstances (e.g. for Health Care Card holders), many health professionals will charge their full fee upfront, and you can then claim your rebate from Medicare. It is important to ask your provider what fees they charge before starting treatment. 

You may feel worried about costs involved in treatment. Please talk to your GP about the Medicare Safety Net as this can reduce the overall costs related to different aspects of your treatment. 

For more information, please see the Butterfly and Medicare websites. 

Private health insurance
If you have private health insurance, you may be able to receive a rebate for mental health and/or dietetic services in private practice, as well as private hospital treatment if you need it. 

Each insurance policy is different. Your health insurer can tell you about your coverage details, such as rebates, excesses, and limits. There is usually a gap fee to pay for services. Knowing your clinician’s profession and format of treatment (e.g. one-on-one, group, etc.) may be helpful to tell your insurer. 
Free and low-cost services
You may find help through the following free and low-cost health services:   

Sometimes these free and low-cost services have longer waiting lists than fee-paying services. If you are struggling while you are waiting for a service, call them and let them know. They may be able to help you find some other support. 

Ask your GP for help to ensure that the treatment professional you see has experience in providing treatment for eating disorders and/or is a Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinician. Not all treatment providers will be credentialed, but they may be able to provide the treatment you need. 

If you would like to talk to someone further about your treatment options, please contact the Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) from 8am-midnight (AEST/AEDT). 

Intensive eating disorder support - day programs, hospital, and residential programs
A range of programs are offered in different states, and may include public or private hospital inpatient programs, day programs, intensive outpatient programs or residential programs. The NEDC Service locator may help you find eating disorder-specific services. 

Private or non-government services

  • Fee structures vary. Ask your provider how their fees work, when you will need to pay, and whether the service is covered by Medicare, private health insurance or other funding. 
  • If you are in financial hardship, ask your provider whether they have any options for you. Some providers can partially subsidise the cost of treatment. 

Public hospital care 

  •  Public hospital care is typically for people needing more intensive treatment. Although care is available in most states and territories, not every state has publicly-funded eating disorder-specific beds for children, adolescents, and adults.  
  • You may need to travel to another town or state to access the hospital care you need. There may be accommodation costs for family to stay near you. If you need help with this, some charities can assist – ask your hospital social worker for more information. 
  • You may also be able to access a public hospital bed nearer to you either in a mental health or general medical ward. If this happens, your hospital should contact your state’s specialist eating disorder service to ensure you get the care that you need. 
Other out of pocket costs

Every person’s experience of an eating disorder is different, and they might access different services depending on their need, available resources, and their local community. 

Cost of care might include:  

Your local council, local community centre or neighbourhood house may also be able to offer support with some of these services or costs. 

Some people with eating disorders may also be able to access funding support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. For more information, see the NDIS website

Remember, if you are feeling concerned or anxious about the costs associated with treatment, you can talk to your GP about options and support.