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Normal waiting periods for health fund membership resume next week

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NORMAL WAITING PERIODS FOR HEALTH FUND MEMBERSHIP RESUME NEXT WEEK ________________________________________________

The Minister for Health, the Hon. Michael

MacKellar, today reminded people without health insurance

cover that normal waiting periods for health fund member­

ship would apply again from next Monday.

He urged those intending to join funds to do

so before the week-end so they could be eligible for immed­

iate basic benefits.

Normally there is a two-month waiting period

from the date of joining a fund before benefits at the basic

level can be claimed.

However, in introducing the new health insurance

arrangements from 1 September, the Government waived the usual

waiting time for the period 1 September to 31 October.

Mr MacKellar said the advantages of immediate

benefits were obvious. They ensured instant protection for

everybody including pregnant women whose babies were due soon

and people with chronic illnesses which require frequent treat­


The Minister -reminded Australians that, by law,

no open health insurance fund could refuse on health grounds to

accept any applicant for membership at the basic level.

Basic benefits cover:

. Medical: 85 percent of the Schedule fee for

each medical service, with a maximum of $10 to

be paid by the patient for each item of service

where the Schedule fee is charged.

. . . / 2


. Hospital; Charges for shared room accommodation

in a public hospital, for professional services

rendered by hospital-employed doctors, and for

outpatient services.

Mr MacKellar emphasised that everyone was now person

ally responsible for hospital and medical costs, except those people

in clearly-defined categories of special need.

The great majority of Australians had chosen regis­

tered health insurance to protect themselves against such costs.

Unlike commercial insurers, registered health in­

surance organisations pay Commonwealth Medical Benefits, and basic

contributions to registered organisations also attract the 32 cents

in the dollar taxation rebate.

CANBERRA, 29.10.81