NewsTens of thousands more Aussies now qualify for health and energy discounts
Tens of thousands more Aussies now qualify for health and energy discounts

Tens of thousands more Aussies now qualify for health and energy discounts

It’s one perk of getting on in life, which the recipients genuinely value, and now more of us have access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

As of Friday last week (Nov 4), the income threshold to enjoy the benefits of the card has risen significantly, meaning 44,000 more people are now eligible for the cost-of-living relief from certain health-related costs.

The changes appear pretty generous. Beneficiaries can now be singles with an income threshold of $90,000, up from $58,000, and couples with $144,000, up from $92,000. Also, another 52,000 will be eligible in the next four years.

The card is designed for Australian residents who have reached the pension age, currently 66.5 years, and do NOT receive social security or other benefits. 

Anything this desirable comes with detailed terms and conditions, and it is best to check them out on the government’s website.

The card gives access to various helps such as co-payments for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines, concessional thresholds for the PBS Safety Net, and bulk-billed appointments to GPs. There are also some extra lurks - see below.

I’m not entirely of age to apply yet, so I would be interested in hearing from you about the card. How valuable has it been, and what advice would you give to those who are newly eligible?

The changes came to light during the last election campaign. The issue of looking after older Australians was growing, and PM Morrison offered to expand access to the senior health card. Labor quickly followed suit.

The policy will cost almost $70 million over the next four years. If you are a newly arrived resident, there’s a waiting period of up to four years.

The health card grants discounts on prescriptions and better refunds on healthcare expenses than are usual with Medicare.

Depending on which state or territory you live in, or even which council area, the card can qualify you for discounts/benefits/concessions around energy bills, council rates, water charges, public transport etc.

Cinemas and other businesses may offer discounts too.

The irony of too many concessions is that those who they are mainly aimed at do not always claim them or take full advantage. It’s up to you!

What experiences have you had of using the card or even maybe until now being denied access to it?

Do you agree it’s fairer to offer broader access to its many benefits?

Originally posted on .

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Someone from VIC commented:

I agree with "someone from Victoria". I've tried to get discounts from various organisations that tell me that unless I receive a Centrelink benefit the Commonwealth Health Care Card does not apply. If the government wants to help older people why can't those people over 70 years be eligible for concessions on all utilities? Another Victorian Senior 

Someone from VIC commented:

I feel that all over 70 should have a health care card. We have worked and paid taxes all our life and have saved with Super so that we are not claiming a pension. We are not wealthy and feel it is unfair that we are not entitled to a health care card. We have a commonwealth health card but that gives very limited benefits. 

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