Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: Safety Net catches those in need

29 October 2018

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Australians could be missing out on hundreds of dollars a year in medical rebates if they fail to enrol for the Medicare Safety Net as a family or a couple.

Individuals are automatically registered for the safety net, which kicks in once your out-of-pocket medical expenses reach an annual threshold. You are then entitled to a higher Medicare rebate for each subsequent visit you make to a doctor within that calendar year.

By registering as a couple or a family, each member of your household’s out-of-pocket expenses are combined, enabling you all to qualify for the higher rebate sooner.

Human Services and Digital Transformation Minister Michael Keenan said Australia’s Medicare system is the envy of many countries around the world and the Coalition is keen to ensure that families are receiving their full entitlements.

“That’s why we are urging Australians to update their details with Medicare as soon as possible so they can access the higher rebate faster and start getting more money back in their pockets sooner,” Mr Keenan said.

“It is as simple as picking up the phone and calling Medicare, or you can even update your details online through our websites and apps.

“For a family with young children – particularly in a household where a loved one has an ongoing medical issue – the higher rebate could add up to a sizeable sum coming back into your pocket each year.”

Out-of-pocket expenses are the difference between what you pay your doctor and what you get back from Medicare.

The threshold for concession cardholders and families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A is $668.10. For all other Medicare cardholders, the amount is $2093.30.

A safety net system also operates for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Once people have spent over the threshold on PBS prescription medicines, they are eligible for a PBS Safety Net card and reduced PBS prescription costs.

Couples and families can register for the Medicare Safety Net by calling 132 011.

For more information visit: humanservices.gov.au/safetynet or humanservices.gov.au/pbssafetynet

Page last updated: 29 October 2018