MedicarePlus Safety Net Available Now
The government has decided to make safety net benefits available from, 12 March 2004, the earliest possible date after the legislation had passed.
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17 March 2004
MedicarePlus Safety Net Available NowThe government has decided to make safety net benefits available from last Friday, 12 March 2004, the earliest possible date after the legislation had passed, even though the electronic systems are not yet in place to provide fully automated payments.
All Australians are now protected against big, cumulative medical bills for Medicare services provided outside hospital, including GP visits, specialist consultations, X-rays, blood tests, MRI scans, CT scans and radiation oncology.
This means more peace of mind for all Australians.
The MedicarePlus safety net will pay 80 percent of the out of pocket costs for Medicare services provided out of hospital for:
- Families and individuals covered by a Commonwealth concession card or receiving Family Tax Benefit (A) once their out-of-pocket, out of hospital expenses exceed $300 in a calendar year. This covers 12 million Australians, including four out of five families with children.
- Other individuals and families, once their out of pocket, out of hospital expenses exceed $700 in a calendar year.
For the next three or four weeks, individuals or families who have an entitlement under the safety net, will receive their benefits in two stages: they will be refunded the standard Medicare rebate in the first instance, and will later receive a cheque for their safety net entitlement.
By early April 2004, the Health Insurance Commission will have the systems in place to provide fully automated payments that combine rebate and safety net amounts at the point of claiming.
By starting the safety net now, rather than when the automated systems are in place, all those individuals and families who become eligible for the safety net in the next few weeks and make a claim will be reimbursed 80% of their out of pocket costs over the relevant threshold. These are benefits they would not have received if the start date for the safety net had been delayed till automated systems were in place.
Individuals and registered families can find out what medical costs they have already incurred this year by contacting their local Medicare office.
Families should register with Medicare for the MedicarePlus safety net. This will ensure that the relevant costs of all family members count toward the safety net thresholds. Individuals do not need to register for the safety net, as expenses will automatically be calculated.
Families who have already registered for the old MBS safety net don't have to do anything as they are automatically registered for the new MedicarePlus safety net.
To register simply visit the local Medicare office and fill in the safety net registration form. The form can also be downloaded from www.hic.gov.au or a form can be mailed to you by calling 1800 011 163.
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.