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Wednesday, 4 March 1970

Combined Commonwealth and medical fund benefits will be established at levels which provide a contributor with substantial coverage against the cost of any type of medical service where the doctor charges the most common fee. As previously announced by the Prime Minister, a medical fund contributor will be required to meet only 80c of the common fee for general practitioner consultations and only $1.20 of the common fee for a visit to the home or hospital by a general' practitioner. The higher levels of benefits to be provided under these new arrangements have been graduated to provide greater assistance towards the more costly services. Except for the two general practitioner services mentioned, the portion of the common fee to be met toy a New South Wales contributor will be slightly higher than in other States in the case of services within the common fee range above $3.50 and below $20, due to the generally higher levels of medical fees in that State. However, I would stress that, in all States, including New South Wales, contributors will bear no more than $5 for services in the common fee range of $40 and higher. Even in the case of an operation involving the administration of anaesthetic and other services directly associated with the operation, a contributor will bear no more than $5 of the combined common fees for the operation and those services. The previous rule that combined Commonwealth and funds benefits may not exceed 90% of the doctor's fee will no longer apply under the new arrangements.

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