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More About Medical Imaging and Medicare

September 17, 2019 0 Comments

We have previously discussed How the Medical Imaging Industry Grew in Australia and mentioned that from the 1st of July 2020 bulk billing will be made available for a lot of diagnostic imaging and x-rays. 

What else do we need to know about next year’s changes? 

More About Medical Imaging and Medicare

Cost of x-rays and ultrasounds to decrease 

2019 Federal Budget proposal for cheaper x-rays, ultrasounds and medications

Reducing the costs of cancer treatment: a $2.3 billion pledge by Labor leader Bill Shorten

 

Cost of x-rays and ultrasounds to decrease 

Patients will pay less for their x-rays and ultrasounds under a new government pledge to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. 

From 1 July 2020 – for the first time in 20 years, the government will expand indexation of Medicare to around 90% of all ultrasound and diagnostic radiology services. 

The scans that are eligible for the pledge are: mammograms, pregnancy ultrasounds, echocardiograms, angiograms, image-guided procedures, CT scans for the diagnosis and management of cancer and  X-rays for fractures.

X Ray Scan Of A Hand Wrist Holding Computer Mouse

2019 Federal Budget proposal for cheaper x-rays, ultrasounds and medications

In April, the Federal Government revealed the Budget proposal for the coming financial year. The Budget included $81.8 billion of spending on healthcare, which will increase to $89.5 billion leading up to the 2022 to 2023 financial year.

For those worried about the cost of having x-rays or ultrasounds, Medicare will provide a rebate or an increased current rebate to make these diagnostic services more affordable. This would also hopefully decrease the number of Australians who skip radiology each year because of the costs involved. Reported to be around 300,000 every year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

When these measures make it through parliament, Australians will benefit from cheaper x-rays, ultrasounds, medications for several cancers and illnesses and an increased hospital infrastructure.

On top of reducing some of the x-ray and ultrasound costs, Medicare will also provide a greater rebate for MRIs for women with breast cancer. This increased rebate is expected to benefit 14,000 Australians with breast cancer every year and accounts for $32.6 million of the Budget.

Man using tablet pc against medical interface on xray

Reducing the costs of cancer treatment: a $2.3 billion pledge by Labor leader Bill Shorten

Cancer treatments can be costly and varying on multiple factors and out-of-pocket costs,  ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars in some instances. This year Labor leader Bill Shorten pledged to help reduce these costs. 

The “bill shock” of hidden payments can potentially be crippling, particularly when the primary income earner is the one getting the treatment.

“Out-of-pocket costs” are all the additional expenses that patients pay for healthcare services that are not covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

Common areas for costs include diagnostic scans, medication, specialist consultation fees, radiation therapy, surgery fees and rehabilitation. Not to mention additional expenses relating to travel and care for things back at home for the patient. 

Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) has reported that half of Australians undergoing treatment have out-of-pocket costs in excess of $5000. More than one in four cancer patients paid more than $10,000 out of their pockets over two years, and one in three paid between $2000 to $5000. 

Medicare on average covers 63 per cent of the total costs of cancer care, ranging from 51 per cent for prostate cancer to 89 per cent for lung cancer patients.

The Cancer Council, Breast Cancer Network Australia and Consumers Health Forum all have welcomed Bill Shorten’s announcements to support the costs for these treatments. 

Do you think support from the government for these treatments will benefit many Australians? How will the new Medicare indexation affect you at work? We would love to hear from you.

Doctor is making a diagnosis for a patient in medical office-1

Schedule a chat with our friendly consultant Judith Butcher at Gorilla Jobs and find out what suitable jobs in Radiology or other Medical Imaging areas she has for you. 

This week’s Gorilla Jobs Update also includes information for our Doctors and Pharmacy divisions. For more useful information and tips please visit our Gorilla Jobs Blogs.

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