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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2504

Mr Lloyd (MURRAY, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

Further to his answer to question No. 65 (Hansard, 4 June 1976, page 3101) relating to the waiver of charges for pensioner patients admitted to Canberra hospitals under private practitioners, is the same procedure accepted for the States under the new Hospitals Agreements.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Under the terms of the Medibank hospital agreements an eligible person, other than a privately insured person, is entitled to receive care and treatment as a hospital patient in a recognised hospital free of charge and without means test. An eligible person who is a privately insured person, or who is not a privately insured person but elects to be treated as a private patient by the doctor of his or her choice, is to be charged in accordance with the scale of hospital charges set out in the agreement. No provision exists under the Medibank hospital agreements for the waiver of charges for pensioner patients admitted to recognised hospitals as private patients.

Under the revised Medibank arrangements, the insurance provisions are such that if pensioners who are exempt from paying the levy, or who pay the levy, wish to retain the doctor of their choice whilst in hospital, they are able to contribute to a hospital insurance table to cover themselves for the $40 a day hospital charge applicable. The Government is subsidising this table in order to place it within the reach of the needy members of the community. As a result the contribution rates charged by Medibank (Private Insurance) and most private insurance funds are $1.30 per week for single coverage and $2.60 per week for family coverage. The Government considers these rates to be reasonable and within the reach of most pensioners and needy people who wish to ensure choice of doctor whilst in hospital.

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