Australian Government - Budget 2014-15
Portfolio Budget Statements
Complete DVA PBS
2014-15 DVA Budget Factsheet
Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES)
2014-15 DVA Budget Factsheet
The Government has provided $12.3 billion for Veterans’ Affairs in 2014–15, supporting around 310,000 veterans and dependants. This funding includes $6.7 billion for income support and compensation pensions and $5.5 billion for health services.
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.
Recognising the unique nature of military service, the 2014–15 Budget provides:
- Funding to deliver the Government’s election commitment to index DFRB and DFRDB military superannuation pensions by movements in the better of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, and Pension and Beneficiary Living Cost Index from 1 July 2014 for superannuants age 55 and over.
- Restoration of funding to the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) programme, providing an additional $1 million per year over the forward estimates period.
- The $7 GP co-payment will not be applicable to Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Gold Card and White Card clients for those conditions covered.
- Veterans eligible to access the Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme will be reimbursed for out-of-pocket pharmaceutical expenses arising from the one off increase in the concessional pharmaceutical co-payment of 80 cents and the increase to the safety net threshold.
The Budget is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.
2014–15 Budget measures for DVA include:
- Amendments will occur to the backdating of disability pension claims with the disability pension to be paid from the date the claim is lodged for claims received on or after 1 January 2015. Backdating provisions for Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 War Widow(er) pension claims will remain unchanged.
- There will be an increase in the number of Enhanced Compliance Programme (ECP) reviews per financial year from 12,000 to 20,000. These additional reviews are aimed at ensuring clients are receiving the level of income support they are entitled to and will focus on clients who are at high risk of changes to their circumstances.
- DVA clients who have been in continuous receipt of incapacity payments for 12 months or more under either the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 will undergo a specialist review to confirm if their service related condition continues to impact their ability to work. Over a two and a half year period, around 500 clients with a single condition will be reviewed.
- $6.9 million will be allocated towards a detailed business case and design for an interpretive centre in France to ensure the sacrifice of Australians on the Western Front during the First World War is appropriately recognised.
- The Health Provider Fee Indexation budget initiative between DVA and the Department of Health (DoH) will align indexation arrangements between Medicare and DVA arrangements. These measures will not change the current health care entitlements for DVA Gold and White Card holders.
- A Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme (DSHIS) Independent Scoping Study will consider options for the future management and operations of the DSHIS and include advice from an industry expert.
Other whole of Government measures concerning veterans include:
- The Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) will include new and amended listings and updates to the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) that will flow through to DVA automatically.
- Annual indexation of the current income threshold for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) by the CPI will occur from 20 September 2014.
- From 1 July 2014, the Clean Energy Supplement will be known as the Energy Supplement and the payment will no longer be indexed as the carbon tax will be removed and will no longer contribute to price pressures.
- The Seniors Supplement will be abolished for holders of the CSHC and the DVA Gold Card, from 20 June 2014, while the Energy Supplement and a concession card will still be available to eligible seniors who do not receive a pension. UPDATE: Legislation to give effect to the 2014-15 Budget measure to cease the Seniors Supplement has now passed. The last payment was on 25 June 2015 for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders and certain Gold Card holders.
- The closure of the Pension Bonus Scheme to new registrations has been deferred to 1 July 2014.
- The Housing Help for Seniors pilot has been reversed.
- The Education Entry Payment will be abolished from 1 January 2015.
- From 20 September 2017, the Service Pension (and other DVA pension payments) will be indexed according to the CPI only. This will make indexation arrangements consistent across social security payments and equivalent Veterans’ Affairs payments. Pensions will continue to be indexed twice per year.
- The income test for the CSHC will be changed to include untaxed superannuation income in the assessment, treating untaxed superannuation more fairly for CSHC holders from 1 January 2015.
- The deeming rate thresholds will be reset to $30,000 for a single and $50,000 for a couple from 20 September 2017.
- Eligibility thresholds will be maintained for Australian Government payments and a pause in indexation of all means test thresholds for income support pensions and allowances for three years will occur from 1 July 2017.
- Reprioritising of the Aged Care Workforce Supplement funding will increase the payments that can be made to Veterans’ Home Care, Community Nursing and residential aged care providers from 1 July 2014.
- The Aged Care Payroll Tax for some residential aged care providers will be abolished from 1 January 2015.
- The indexation of some MBS fees, the Medicare Levy Surcharge and Private Health Insurance Rebate thresholds will be paused. DVA medical arrangements will be brought into line with the existing MBS arrangements.
- The MBS comprehensive eye examination will reduce the time interval for eye examinations for those over 65 from every second year to every year, and from every second year to every third year for those under 65.
- The MBS will include new and amended listings and updates to the MBS that will flow through to DVA automatically.
- Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record funding will be allocated to support DVA in communicating with the veteran community about electronic health records.
- A full implementation of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme for all Australians aged 50–74 years will occur by 2020.
For more information about the 2014–15 Budget