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Medicare boost for local area.



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Tony Smith MP Federal Member for Casey

M E D I A R E L E A S E

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Medicare boost for local area

The Federal Government’s health reform package will be a major boost for the Outer East and the Yarra Valley.

Doctors will also be given increased financial incentives to bulk bill in all areas, including outer metropolitan areas.

The sensible reforms will protect and enhance Medicare as well as make health care simpler, easier and more affordable. In addition they will provide increased health services in our area into the future.

A new Medicare safety net will provide greater protection for concession cardholders and their dependants who face high out of hospital costs. The Government will pay 80 cents in every dollar of out of pocket expenses over a threshold of $500 for concessional patients in a calendar year.

For the first time it will also be possible to insure against the cumulative out of pocket costs of out of hospital medical services after a threshold of $1000 per family in a calendar year is reached. The small premium (estimated to be in the order of $50 per year) will be open to all people whether they have private health insurance or not.

Importantly, families who already visit non-bulk billing doctors will no longer have to endure the cash flow difficulties and the time delays associated with paying the full up front fee and having to travel to a Medicare office to receive the rebate at a later date.

The new online claiming system will mean that only the gap is paid on the spot at the surgery. Patients will leave the surgery with no more to do and no more to pay.

There are also important funding measures to provide extra doctors and extra nurses across Australia into the future to provide greater health services.

29 April, 2003