In order to ensure seniors can access all life-saving medical services, the federal and state & territory governments offer various health rebates. The eligibility criteria for each rebate or support program could be updated each year.
Private Health Insurance Rebate
Private Health Insurance Rebate is a government subsidy to ensure all citizens are able to afford private health insurance premiums for both hospital and extras covers. It is income-tested so the lower the income, the higher the rebate. The rebate rates also increase as the maximum age of the people covered by the policy increases.
You can either use it as a reduction in the payment to the insurers or claim it as a refundable tax offset upon lodging your tax return.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) / Low Income Health Care Card (LIHCC)
You can apply for a CSHC or LIHCC if you are an Australian resident of age 66 or older, do not qualify for other payments from the Centrelink or the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and meet an income test. CSHC holders can access cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), bulk billing of doctor visits, and discounts on health care and energy costs.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
NDIS supports more than 25,000 Australians under 65 with a permanent disability or a serious mental or physical impairment. Once the recipient reaches the age of 65, he/she can opt in to stay on the scheme or seek aged care support specifically designed for seniors over 65.
NDIS helps those with disabilities and their carers formulate a long-term care plan, provide funding for necessary living and health care arrangements, and accommodate special needs such as wheelchairs and home nursing.
Disability Support Pension
Disability Support Pension provides aid to all qualified Australian residents over the age of 16 who meet the income and asset tests.
The recipient also must meet any of the following medical criteria:
- Permanently blind or otherwise incapacitated
- Require nursing home care
- Suffer terminal illness
- Intellectually disabled with an IQ below 70
- Diagnosed with category 4 HIV/AIDS
Your condition should expect to last 2 years or the rest of your life and prevent you from working 15 or more hours a week.
Home Care Packages (HCP)
To assist seniors who need more attentive care and wider breadth of support, the government-funded HCP provides various services that help seniors access all necessities and make their day-to-day life at home more comfortable. The package includes shopping, home maintenance, food, medical services, transportation means, and more.
To qualify, they have to first be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team who will evaluate your health needs, living conditions, and care requirements to provide a tailored package.
Continence Aids Payment Scheme
Any Australian resident suffering from permanent and severe incontinence (assessed by a registered health professional) can be entitled to an annual non-taxable payment to cover some of the cost of incontinence management. The rate may change each financial year but the 2019-2020 rate was up to $609.70 per person.
Care Payment and Care Allowance
Care Payment provides financial assistance to carers looking after disabled adults or children who require round the clock care due to significantly inhibited mobility, cognitive function, or self-care abilities. Both the carer and the care recipient need to be Australian residents and the recipient must be expected to require such intensive assistance for at least 6 months. You also have to meet the income test. The benefit rate could range from $712 to $1424 per fortnight.
Care Allowance is for a fortnightly income supplement for carers looking after someone with a disability, illness, or is frail aged. The care recipient must be expected to require assistance for at least 12 months. The carer cannot have a combined household income higher than $250,000. The eligible carer will receive $132 each fortnight.