More senior Australians receive cheaper healthcare
New figures show thousands of senior Australians have received access to cheaper medicine and GP visits since changes late last year to the commonwealth seniors health card.
Eligibility amendments to the card in November led to 10,893 people benefiting from the cheaper healthcare measures.
The changes brought in by the federal government saw the income threshold for singles increase from almost $58,000 to $90,000, while the limit for couples rose from $92,416 to $144,000.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said they have allowed more people to gain concessions, which extends to the PBS, as well as bulk-billed GP visits.
"It's incredible to see such a great take up in a short time," she said.
"We know seniors value their concession cards and, importantly, this change isn't temporary. It's permanent and will provide older Australians with ongoing benefits in the years ahead."
It's estimated 52,000 senior Australians would benefit from the larger eligibility threshold for the health card by 2026/27.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said those who were eligible but had not applied for the card could do so on myGov.
"How someone claims will depend on their circumstances and preferences," he said.
"While using online services remains a choice, support is available for those who need a hand to get started. All Services Australia service centres now offer digital support for people who need help to get set up."
It comes as figures show more than $36 million has been saved on medicines listed on the PBS in the first two months of the year.
The government lowered the maximum out of pocket cost by $12.50, which came into effect from January.
Health Minister Mark Butler said four out of five of the cheaper prescriptions have received the full $12.50 discount.
"Cheaper medicine is not just putting money back into patients' pockets, it's also good for Australia's health," he said.