A letter sent in front of an information booklet, sent to every household in Australia, June 3 2004.

(Australian Coat of Arms)
Australian Government

Postage paid Australia


(Australian Coat of Arms)

Prime Minister

Dear fellow Australian,
Medicare is the cornerstone of our health system.

It delivers benefits that guarantee affordable and high quality health care for all Australians through:

Because the Australian Government is fully committed to Medicare, we are spending an extra four billion dollars over five years to strengthen it.

Why is this booklet important?

This booklet describes how Medicare has been strengthened.

Please take the time to read it so that you and your family can obtain full benefits of the improvements to Medicare.

An important feature is the registration form, which can be found in the back of the booklet.

If you are part of a couple or family, you will need to complete the form and return it to Medicare so that you can obtain the full benefit of the new Medicare safety net.

New Medicare Safety Net

The new Medicare safety net is a major initiative. It has been designed to provide an additional rebate, over and above the normal Medicare rebate for medical expenses incurred out of hospital, once the threshold has been reached.

For a majority of Australians, including most families, this threshold is only $300 a calendar year before this additional rebate applies. For others it is $700 a calendar year. This threshold applies to a wide range of out of hospital treatments including:

  • visits to the GP (for you and your family); and
  • additional treatment such as x-rays, scans, tests or seeing a specialist when you need to.
The new Medicare safety net can reduce family medical costs significantly.

Estimates show that more than 450,000 families, couples and individuals will reach their new safety net threshold in any particular year.

Bulk Billing

The government supports bulk billing as a key aspect of Medicare. There are now new incentives for general practitioners to bulk bill children under sixteen and Commonwealth Concession Card holders.

More Doctors and Nurses

Under the improvements to Medicare, there will also be more doctors entering the health workforce, especailly servicing iuter suburban, regional and rural areas. There will be more nurses in doctors' surgeries as well. They will be working to provide care to people visiting doctors' surgeries and so lightening the load on GPs by carrying out functions such as vaccinations and wound management.

there will be suport for more than 1,600 additional doctors and 1,500 nurses within GP surgeries, over the next three years.

Allied Health Services

People with chrinic illnesses, who have complex care needs, will now have access to a range of services not previously covered by Medicare, when this is part of an approved care plan coordinated by their GP.

Aged Care

If you have a family member or friend in an aged care home, they will have access to comprehensive medical checks now covered by Medicare. GPs will also be funded to work with aged care homes to improve the quality of care and access to visiting doctors.

Strengthening Medicare will protect and secure affordable and high quality health care for Australians.

Yours sincerely

John Howard
(John Howard)

26 May 2004

Kalon's aside: More information can be found at www.health.gov.au or by ringing 1800 011 163.

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