Major changes to Medicare could leave Australians thousands of dollars out of pocket for common conditions – and it’s sporty families who’ll be the hardest hit
- Hundreds of rebates to be slashed or dropped under massive Medicare overhaul
- More than 900 procedures for common surgeries will be impacted from July 1
- Patients will be forced to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses
- Sports people will be one of hardest hit with common hip condition scrapped
A massive Medicare overhaul is set to leave some patients thousands of dollars out of pocket as rebates will be slashed or dropped for hundreds of surgeries.
The Health Department plans to change rebates for more than 900 procedures including common hip, shoulder and hand surgeries as early as July 1.
A number of rebates will either be slashed or dumped altogether with patients now having to pay up to $10,000 for some surgeries.
Doctors have warned the changes will cause ‘total chaos’ and that people who do a lot of sport will be among the hardest hit as they can develop such conditions more easily.
Patients will now have to cover the full cost of microsurgery for a common hip condition because Medicare will no longer accept the diagnosis, Daily Telegraph reported.
A massive Medicare overhaul is set to leave patients thousands of dollars out of pocket as rebates will be slashed or dropped for hundreds of surgeries
The Health Department plans to change the rebate for more than 900 procedures including hip, shoulder and hand surgeries as early as July 1
The condition is known as Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome and occurs when another bone grows along the hip joint and stops them from fitting together properly.
The irregularity causes the hip bones to rub against each other during movement and leads to intense pain.
The Australian Medical Association said every medically advanced country recognised the condition – except for Australia.
Retired Australian freestyle skier Jacqui Cooper has relied on the microsurgery seven times during her illustrious career.
‘This is going to put a lot of pressure on people and if they don’t have the money they’re going to be walking around in pain,’ she said.
The extreme sport has also landed her in hospital on numerous occasions for broken elbows, shoulders and a shattered knee.
Ms Cooper said raising the out-of-pocket expenses to pay for surgeries would only place more strain on families.
‘It really affects your mental health, you feel like you can’t move, you feel like you’re not yourself anymore,’ she said.
AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said health funds were scrambling to update their rebate systems.
Retired Australian freestyle skier Jacqui Cooper has relied on the microsurgery seven times during her illustrious career
‘This is not the health fund’s fault, it takes a lot of time to work out the numbers you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of numbers and you got to work out what the relativities are and what the formulas are to turn an MBS rebate into a health fund rebate,’ he said.
The Department of Health said it had provided updates to health funds and admitted it might take until September for them to work them into their policies.
Daily Mail Australia contacted the Department of Health for comment.