National Hepatitis C Testing Policy May 2007

10. Funding

Page last updated: July 2007

Key Points

  • There is a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebate for HCV antibody testing.
  • There is a MBS rebate for qualitative and quantitative nucleic acid testing and genotype testing.
  • Some States and Territories provide free and de-identified hepatitis C testing.

10.1. Hepatitis C testing in Australia

By 2005, over 1 million hepatitis C antibody tests for diagnostic testing had been performed in Australia by standard and reference laboratories (excluding blood bank testing and supplemental testing).

10.2. Funding arrangements for hepatitis C diagnostic and monitoring tests

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (May 2006) funds the following hepatitis C treatment assessment and monitoring tests:
  • Testing for hepatitis C using hepatitis C antibody test
  • Supplementary testing for hepatitis C antibodies using different hepatitis C antibody assay on the specimen which has a reactive result on the initial hepatitis antibody test
  • Quantitation 10of HCV RNA load in plasma or serum in the pre-treatment evaluation or the assessment of efficacy of antiviral therapy of a patient with chronic HCV hepatitis - where any request for the test is made by or on the advice of the specialist or consultant physician who manages the treatment of the patient with chronic HCV hepatitis – (to a maximum of 2 of this item in a 12 month period).
  • Nucleic Acid amplification and determination of hepatitis C genotype (subject to certain conditions)
  • Detection of Hepatitis C viral RNA (subject to certain criteria being met)
  • Detection of hepatitis C RNA in a patient undergoing antiviral therapy for chronic HCV hepatitis (not exceeding 4 episodes in a 12 month period).
More detailed information on hepatitis C funding under the MBS is available at:http://www.health.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Medicare-Benefits-Schedule-mbs-publications (Pathology - Category 6 Items, Notes and Index)



10While the term "quantitation" is used in the MBS, "quantification" is used elsewhere in this document.