Sunday, October 21, 2012

Today’s Mini Budget Has Implications for Telehealth, and Private Health Insurance.

On page 231 we read:
“The Government will restrict telehealth services to those patients for whom distance is the most significant barrier to accessing specialist care.
This is estimated to save $134.4 million over four years. This restriction will align eligibility to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth items with the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA), the standard remoteness classification used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. From 1 January 2013, geographic eligibility criteria for MBS telehealth services will be amended to exclude patients in outer metropolitan areas and major cities of Australia, in accordance with the ASGC-RA. The amendment to geographical eligibility will not affect services that are provided to patients of an Aboriginal Medical Service or care recipients of a residential aged care facility.
Savings from this measure will be redirected to partially offset the cost of the Dental
Health Reform package announced on 29 August 2012.”
You can see the whole document here:
There has also been a rather complex change to the Private Health Insurance rebate:

Private health insurance takes another hit

The federal government will cut another $700 million from private health insurance (PHI) as it attempts to shore up its budget position.
In the mid-year fiscal update released on Monday, Labor announced it will no longer pay the PHI rebate on people’s entire premiums when they rise more than the consumer price index (CPI).
From April 2014 “the premium to which the rebate is applied will move in line with CPI or the commercial premium increase, whichever is lower”, Treasurer Wayne Swan said in a statement on Monday.
In April this year, health fund premiums rose an average of 5.06 per cent. In 2011, they rose 5.56 per cent across the board.
In the year to June, the CPI was just 1.2 per cent.
“This measure will save approximately $700 million over the forward estimates helping ensure that the PHI rebate remains on a sustainable footing,” Mr Swan said.
Full article is here:
More broadly health expenditure seems to be only taking small other changes as far as I have spotted to date.
I could not find any e-health or ehealth changes. Let me know if you spot any.