$1.1 billion Medicare, mental health, domestic violence package on its way in response to coronavirus crisis

Australians won’t receive any out-of-pocket costs for consultations completed on video or over the phone with health professionals like GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists, as part of a $1.1 billion funding boost designed to protect against the widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key points:

  • The bulk of the package will go to expanding Medicare subsidies for telehealth services
  • Money will also be committed to mental health services and counselling services for families caught up in, or at risk of, domestic violence
  • The National Cabinet will meet again on Sunday to discuss the country’s next moves

The bulk of the funding — $669 million — will go towards expanding Medicare subsidies for telehealth services, which allow GPs and other health professionals to consult with patients over video conferencing sites rather than face to face.

If GPs and other eligible specialists wish to access the temporary Medicare item, they will be required to bulk-bill the service, meaning patients will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs.

That included psychology and psychiatrist sessions conducted over both telephone and video consultation services like FaceTime and WhatsApp, the Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.

Please click links below for more information from the Australian Government Department of Health below: