In last week’s budget, the Albanese Government provided $69.6 million in funding over four years from 2022 to increase the income threshold for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).
From Friday 4 November, singles earning up to $90,000 will be able to access the scheme, up from $61,284.
Meanwhile, the threshold for couples has been bumped up from $92,416 to $144,000 (combined).
The changes will benefit an extra 44,000 seniors through access to cheaper medicines and doctor visits.
An additional 52,000 older Australians will benefit from cost-of-living relief by 2026-27.
The CSHC card is available to Australian residents who have reached the pension age and do not already receive social security or other benefits.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said when it comes to older Australians, the government has taken a number of steps to help ease cost-of-living pressures.
“We want to create a better Australia where no one is left behind and no one is held back, and this is particularly true for older Australians," Ms Rishworth said.
“I’m pleased we will now be able to support more people to be able to access the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.”
Chief Advocate of National Seniors Australia Ian Henschke has welcomed the changes to the eligibility rules for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
“This is good news for retirees struggling with rising living costs. Extending the CSHC card eligibility according to government calculations means an extra 44,000 retirees will now get access to concessions to help ease cost of living pressures,” Mr Henschke said.
“This change came about because during the Federal Election both major parties agreed to lower the income test threshold if they won.
“While there were some delays in getting this through parliament, we thank the government and crossbench for finally passing this change.”
These changes come in conjunction with the government planning to make medicine cheaper for Australians, decreasing the maximum co-payment under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from $42.50 to $30 per script.
This is set to aid 3.6 million Australians in saving more than $190 million each year in out-of-pocket medication costs, based on government figures.
The CSHC will provide access to concessions including:
- Cheaper medicine under the PBS
- Bulk billed doctor visits (up to your doctor)
- A refund for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net
Some pensioners may also benefit from other cheaper expenses (depending on the state or territory government) such as electricity and gas, water rates, ambulance costs, and public transport fares.
Read More: What’s in the Federal Budget for pensioners?
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