Australian Government — Budget 2014–15
Portfolio Budget Statements
Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES)
How will the Medicare changes affect veterans and providers under Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) arrangements?
On 9 December 2014 the Government announced it would replace the Medicare co-payment policy announced in the 2014–15 Budget. As a result, there will be three changes to Medicare:
- a co-payment for General Practitioner (GP) services;
- redefining the lengths of common GP consultations; and
- pausing indexation of Medicare fees.
How has the co-payment changed?
From 1 July 2015, there will be a $5 reduction in rebates for non-concessional patients for most GP attendances. This co-payment does not apply to GP services for veterans funded under DVA arrangements.
DVA Gold and White card holders will be exempt from any co-payment for DVA funded treatment. DVA White card holders will only pay a co-payment for those services they access under Medicare arrangements, for conditions not covered by their DVA White Card.
Under DVA arrangements, the DVA fee will continue as the full payment to the provider with no charge to the card holder. This measure will not apply to Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology services with payment arrangements currently in place continuing for these services.
For further information please see Department of Health's website.
Redefining the lengths of common GP consultations will no longer proceed
On 15 January 2015, the Minister for Health and Minister for Sport the Hon Sussan Ley MP, announced that the changes to the time requirements for GP consultations, scheduled to commence from 19 January 2015, will not proceed. This means from 19 January 2015:
- Level A GP consultation items 3 (GP general) and 5000 (GP after-hours) will continue to be untimed, as per the existing item requirements; and
- Level B GP consultation items 23 (GP general) and 5020 (GP after-hours) will apply to attendances lasting less than 20 minutes, as per the existing item requirements.
There will also be no change to the time requirements for consultation items for non-vocationally recognised GP and nurse practitioners. This means from 19 January 2015 there will be no changes to the existing requirements for:
- Non-VR GP Group A2 consultation items 52 (general) and 5200 (after-hours);
- Non-VR GP A23 consultation items 53 (general) and 5203 (after-hours); and
- Nurse practitioner items 82200 and 82205.
Under DVA arrangements, the redefining of GP consultation lengths as announced on 9 December 2014 will also no longer proceed.
What is the impact of pausing indexation on Medicare fees under DVA arrangements?
Indexation of Medicare fees will be paused for all services until 1 July 2018. This will also apply to DVA arrangements.