Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Seniors often have more medical requirements than others. Rising medical needs coupled with limited public health care options make private health funds an appealing idea, but not all seniors may be able to afford it, leaving them in a tough situation. Even those who can fit private health care into their budgets often need extra help with out of pocket purchases such as medications or travel expenses.
There are strict eligibility requirements for obtaining the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. The main criteria are that the candidate must be of age for pension but not receiving one. Currently, the age is 64 for women and 65 for men. Additionally, you must be an Australian resident and have less than the set maximum taxable income.
The taxable income levels for eligibility are $50,000 for a single person, $80,000 for a couple and $100,000 for a couple that is separated due to illness or respite care, or if one of the partners is imprisoned. This amount is increased by $639.60 for every dependant.
Taxable income refers to income on which you pay a tax to the government, such as earnings from investments. Employee sponsored benefits, such as a car or housing, are considered taxable income when their value exceeds $1,000.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Benefits
There are several benefits for seniors who carry the card under the categories of medication, doctors appointments, out of hospital medical care, and travel, as well as region-specific benefits in education, recreation and other services for seniors that may differ from location to location.
- A discount on prescription medication through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- GP appointments that are bulk-billed. The government provides incentives for doctors to bulk-bill card holders to make it smooth for all parties involved.
- A reduced bill for out of hospital patient care above what Medicare covers.
- Discounts on Great South Rail services.
- Card holders may receive a stipend of $200 every three months which does not go toward the taxable income threshold.
How to Make a Claim
The easiest way for cardholders to make a claim is to register it through online services. It is also possible to make a claim with a paper form if requested over the phone, or in person at a Centrelink customer service centre.
What About Private Health Insurance?
While the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card goes a long way in ensuring the health of seniors who don’t have a pension, it does not provide the same coverage as a private health fund. However, it may be used in tandem with private health insurance too.
If you don’t think that you can afford a private health fund, compare private health insurance providers before you make that assumption. There are so many packages offered at different rates, and one may be right for your situation. Taking care of your health as a senior is crucial, and being covered will protect your wallet as well as your health.
Still have questions? Let's talk!
Confused? Not sure if this applies to your situation? Phone us on 1300 643 355 for some free, no obligation advice!