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DID YOU KNOW: Having a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) can save you around $2,500 yearly on health care costs.

In general, this includes:

USE Estimated Savings p.a. 
Medicare Safety Net $1,200
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme $1,300

Note: This doesn’t include the potential savings for bulk billing on GP appointments and additional benefits like free ambulance or travel card available in selected regions.

For more information on CSHC benefits, visit Retirement Essentials.

In the example above, a CSHC holder would save close to $2 500 per year on health care costs, and this does not take into account the potential to be bulk billed by GP.

In NSW the CSHC enables free Ambulance, and from July 1 2019, holders will be able to apply for an energy rebate of $200, and in regional areas, a travel card worth $250.

What are the benefits of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

A CSHC entitles you to benefits including:

  • Cheaper medicine for medications listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme9
  • Bulk billed doctor visits (check with your doctor if this applies – it’s not compulsory for them to offer bulk billed visits)
  • A higher refund when your medical costs reach the Medicare Safety Net.

Pricing the exact benefit of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is going to depend on the individual use of Medicare and PBS Medicines.

In broad terms, consider that:

The Medicare Safety Net for CSHC kicks in at a lower level. Once out-of-pocket medical costs reach $680, Medicare will pay 80c in the dollar. For everyone else, this support happens when out-of-pocket spending gets above $2133. So CSHC holders will get an extra 80c back in the dollar for out-of-pocket expenses below $2133 and above $680. So there is a potential extra saving on out-of-pocket medical costs of $1,162.

For the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, CSHC pay $6.50 for the first 60 PBS medications a year, and then medications are free. For everyone else, the rate is $40.30 per PBS medication, then the cost reduces to $6.50. For the purpose of this article, consider someone needing 5 PBS medications per month. A CSHC holder would have spent the limit of $390. Without this support, the PBS threshold kicks in at $1550.70, then scripts are $6.50. In this case the total cost is $1,690 – so the CSHC holder saves $1300.

Does the example above sound like you? Maybe your current health related spending means you will not benefit that much from the CSHC. However, this could easily change.

Australian Productivity Commission Data from 2013 shows Australians over 74 are receiving very high rates of support for PBS medications and Medicare support.

So if you don’t see much benefit from the CSHC now, it is likely there is value in having the card in the future. And there may be other reasons for having the card.

It’s complicated, but worth having it

In the example above, a CSHC holder would save close to $2 500 per year on health care costs, and this does not take into account the potential to be bulk billed by GP.

In NSW the CSHC enables free Ambulance, and from July 1 2019, holders will be able to apply for an energy rebate of $200, and in regional areas, a travel card worth $250.

It’s all part of the challenge of keeping organised in later life.

We can help.