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Government finalises detail on EMSN items and caps.

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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP Minister for Health and Ageing


8 September 2009


Today the Rudd Government tabled regulations that finalise the remaining detail of its move to put the extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) on a more sustainable footing.

Since the Budget announcement, the Government has been working with the medical profession and consumer group ACCESS to restructure the Medicare Schedule items to better reflect the stages of care involved in Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) or an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle.

The details were tabled in Parliament today, along with the level of caps that will apply to benefits payable under the EMSN.

These new items better reflect current clinical practice.

Patients undergoing a typical ART cycle will have their standard Medicare rebates significantly increased - from $3000 to $4000. This rebate will be provided even before patients qualify to receive benefits under the EMSN.

Currently a typical IVF cycle costs around $6000, yet there are doctors who charge in excess of $10,000 per cycle. Patients who see specialists who charge $6000 or less for a typical IVF cycle will not be worse off under these EMSN changes.

The restructured items and caps achieve the same savings announced in the 2009-10 Budget ($451.6 million over 4 years).

This measure is financially responsible and is vital to ensure ongoing support for patients with high medical costs and a sustainable universal health care system for the future.

The Government is now calls on the Senate to pass the legislation this week, when it is scheduled for debate.

This measure will start on 1 January 2010.

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220