HealthTimes has published that new figures show thousands of senior Australians have received access to cheaper GP visits and medicine since new changes were brought in to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card late last year.
The amendments to the eligibility criteria to the health card were brought in by the Federal Government in November 2022 which saw the income threshold rise for both single and couples. Single households thresholds have increased from $58,000 to $90,000 and couples increased from $92,416 to $144,000. This has led, so far, to 10,983 people positively benefiting from the measures.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth has said that these changes have allowed more people to gain concessions, which extends to the PBS we well as bulk-billed GP visits.
This change is not a temporary fix, this is a permanent change and will provide senior Australians with ongoing benefits in years to come - and it is estimated that 52,000 senior Australians will benefit from the larger eligibility threshold for the health card by 2026/27.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said any senior Australians who have not applied for the card but are eligible, are encouraged to do through the myGov website. Although using online services remains a choice, there is support for those who need a hand getting started, and all of the Service Australia service centres now offer digital support for those who need help to get set up.
This comes as latest figures have shown that more than $36 million has been saved on medicines listed on the PBS in the first two months of the year. The government has also lowered the maximum out of pocket cost by $12.50 which came into effect from January 2023.
Health Minister Mark Butler said that four out of five of the cheaper prescriptions have received the full $12.50 discount. He also said:
"Cheaper medicine is not just putting money back into patients' pockets, it's also good for Australia's health".
Original source: HealthTimes.com.au