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Thread: Capping Medicare Saftey Net for IVF/ART

  1. #1

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    Default Capping Medicare Saftey Net for IVF/ART

    I just received an email from ACCESS (it's an infertility information org) that the government is considering making the safety net means tested. If true, this will obviously impact the costs of IVF. IVF is so expensive, and even those who may be pushed out of the safety net because of income still won't have sufficient income to pay 100% for the costly IVF procedures. Has anyone else heard of this?

    ACCESS suggests sending a letter to your member of parliament (see form letter here: http://www.access.org.au/__data/page/947/letter.pdf)

    Last edited by dusty; July 6th, 2009 at 10:45 PM.

  2. #2

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    That is full on! I haven't heard anything. Anyone else heard anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dusty View Post
    That is full on! I haven't heard anything. Anyone else heard anything?
    i googled to try to find info (figured it would be on a press release or something) - the last time it was mentioned in Au was back in 2005...

    the safety net is already means tested to a degree - if you qualify for FTBA as a family, you get your safety net at half as much (so for us, it might be 1100 for ftba family 550) - i can't see anyone going so far as to try fully means testing it at all - the logistics would be impossible! can you imagine people who AREN'T qualifying for ftba having to estimate income - pensioners etc?? i doubt it!
    Last edited by briggsy's girl; March 17th, 2009 at 07:18 AM.

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    I'd be so happy to be wrong. I wonder why ACCESS sent that email?

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    I hope you are right BG and it sure would have huge impacts on more than just IVF patients!

    I wonder whether in this current economic climate if ACCESS are doing some preventative lobbying, which is always a good way to send a message to the Government that this assistance is greatly needed, appreciated and wanted. Probably worth taking the 10 minutes needed to send a message as suggested by ACCESS to the polies to back up a system that we all rely a lot on.

  6. #6

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    Guys - its true, more info can be found on the repromed site (Adelaide's leading IVF clinic)

    Bombard your member of parliment NOW. The government have a sitting of parliment next week with regard to the budget and in scope is to wind back Medicare and Medicare Safety Net support for IVF services - this means a single IVF cycle would cost $8000 with no medicare support

    More info Fertility Specialists, Adelaide South Australia - Repromed

    I have emailed friends, politicians, Media etc to campaign against this change

    Naomi

  7. #7

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    I remember reading something last week saying something about the government putting forward the idea of means testing the safety net, and it would affect the high income earners? I remember reading and wondering who they classed as high income? Would they class $150k as high income (like with the baby bonus?) or would it be less?
    I'll have to see if I can find where I read it..

    Nic

    ok, here is the article i read,

    THE rich are facing higher medical costs and the loss of lucrative superannuation tax breaks to help fund a $30-a-week pension boost.

    The Rudd Government is also considering an increase in nursing home fees - but only for wealthier couples - as part of a Robin Hood Budget.

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is under huge pressure to take the axe to middle-class welfare to help revive a Budget savaged by the downturn.

    Among a raft of schemes being targeted is the Medicare safety net, introduced by John Howard to take the pressure off family medical expenses. It costs $300 million a year and the Government is looking to reduce that.

    This is likely to see the scheme made off-limits to high earners, while the range of eligible medical procedures could also be wound back.


    The powerful Finance Department is also pushing for an increase in nursing home fees, although pensioners would be exempted.

    "Everything is on the table. Finance wants to see big savings out of health," one source told the Herald Sun.

    Senior government figures admit that any rise in nursing home fees would be sensitive with voters. But they believe fee rises can be limited to the wealthy who have built up hefty property portfolios or who receive private income.

    A $30-a-week pension top-up is almost certain to be announced in the May Budget by Treasurer Wayne Swan.

    This is forecast to cost around $5 billion a year, forcing the Government to hunt even harder for savings.

    The Government's review of taxation, chaired by Treasury head Ken Henry, is finalising a key report outlining a raft of savings options.

    At risk is the $1 billion-plus Superannuation Co-contribution scheme, introduced by the Coalition in 2003 as a means of encouraging private savings.

    However, the scheme has been criticised for allowing wealthy families to income-split and still receive generous government handouts - $1.50 for every $1 saved.

    Senior ministers are also expected to target other superannuation measures, although the Government is likely to be attacked for undermining savings efforts.

    Lucrative tax breaks for high-earners who pour up to $50,000 of their income into super through generous salary-sacrifice rules are also under review.

  8. #8

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    Exclamation I think we all should write, write, write

    This is horrible. What's to stop them from paying for IVF all together - it sounds like anything that is expensive and "optional" is on the table - they could have limits based on age, limits based on reasons for infertility or just a flat out "nope, not covered". In addition, while $150,000 may be seen as high, it's certainly not relative the costs of multiple ivf cycles at $8,000 per shot (I won't even go into what one has to earn in pre-tax dollars to have $8000 in hand to pay a clinic).

    I sent a letter off last night thinking that it can't help - here's what I said (sent it via email to the addressees [the Parliament members for my electorate] above as well as those identified on the ACCESS link set forth in my original post):
    ___________________________
    16 March 2009



    The Hon Peter Costello MP

    PO Box 6022

    House of Representatives

    Parliament House

    Canberra ACT 2600

    Email: [email protected]



    Mr Petro Georgiou MP

    PO Box 6022

    House of Representatives

    Parliament House

    Canberra ACT 2600

    Email: [email protected]



    Dear Sirs:



    I am writing to express my extreme concern over the possibility that the Medicare Safety Net may become means tested. There are certain situations where even with what may be seen as a higher income, the costs are exorbitant and just cannot be absorbed. I am thinking specifically of IVF treatments. The treatments and the drugs are very expensive and typically require more than a single round of treatment. To think that the sole option for those of us who cannot conceive without medical intervention will be effectively taken away is devastating to contemplate.



    In addition, the strict limitation on the number of embryos transferred would have to be looked at if the Safety Net becomes means tested. It would not be fair to have someone who is not a beneficiary of the Safety Net be subject to rules which ?lessen the odds? of becoming pregnant via IVF. Of course, these rules are for the benefit of both the potential mother and the baby as multiple births are much riskier for all parties, but if cost were to come into the equation, some might view these risks as assumable especially if they can only afford to do 1 or 2 rounds of IVF because of a limit on the Safety Net. Clearly, a means-tested Safety Net is not the smart choice.



    In my view, if some savings in terms of healthcare is required, a reasonable compromise would be to eliminate the 30% government rebate on health insurance.



    Please consider these views when contemplating any changes to Medicare Safety Net.
    Last edited by buliej; March 17th, 2009 at 10:24 PM. Reason: correction

  9. #9

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    I have just emailed Nicola Roxon..

    To the Honorable Nicola Roxon MP,

    I am a 34 year old woman who has been trying to conceive my husband and my first child for over 2 years now. I had a Laparoscopy and it was found that I have Endometriosis and that this was hindering our ability to conceive. I will be starting my first round of IVF at Easter time all things going well. If there are changes to the safety net and or IVF services are no longer supported through Medicare my dreams of having a child of my own will not be possible. Please consider that 1 in 6 couples require assisted conception of some form and that many, myself included would be unable to access these services if they are no longer subsidised. With an ageing population I would think that a child born in this country is a very precious event and since over 11,000 babies are born from IVF each year that could be a substantial loss.

    Thank you for considering my point of view.

    It took 10 minutes.. Worth every second of my time... Thanks for the heads up ladies.. As if the path to have a child isn't hard enough.. Gotta love the pollies..
    Last edited by lilmisshavachat; March 17th, 2009 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Added my email

  10. #10

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    Ok, I wrote one too...does it sound ok? I'm suffering from a huge lack of sleep at the moment..


    Mr Trevor,

    I belong to an online community that are writing to their local members about the possibility of the Medicare Safety Net becoming means tested, and how it would impact on couples who need IVF to help fullfil their dreams of a family. I like many other IVF mums, and mums to be, am quite concerned that this is on the table for discussion in parliament.

    I live in *******, and 2 years ago was informed that I was suffering from secondary infertility. We had to travel the 200klms to ******* to see our Fertility Specialist, who was part of a clinic in Brisbane. We travelled to Brisbane for our first (and thankfully succesfull) IVF procedure.
    If it were not for the Medicare Safety Net, our IVF cycle would have been out of reach for us for quite awhile, and I would now not be looking at my beautiful baby boy.

    There are so many couples out there who, unfortunately are not successful first go. The financial cost to them is even greater,having to have multiple treatments, and will be more so, if we allow the Medicare Safety Net to become means tested.

    Living in a 'country' area, I am sure you know, means we have to travel for many medical services. The government means testing the Safety Net, would mean more of a financial hardship for people such as myself who needed the services of assisted conception and don't live near the 'big smoke', so need to travel, and that's not to mention the added cost of medication.

    Please, please,please, make sure that IVF does not become out of reach to so many more people than it already is by means testing the Safety Net.
    We must NOT discriminate against infertility!

    Nic

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    Nic - sounds great!

  12. #12

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    Wow - this is scary and potentially heartbreaking.

    I have just sent an email to the office of Nicola Roxon also. We can't let this happen.

    I know my husband and I would no longer be able to afford it. How can they even consider this?

  13. #13

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    This is not good at all

  14. #14

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    I just called my clinic to speak to someone who liaises with the government. This is absolutely true and she believes they will actually be discussing this in Parliament next week (and possibly deciding it next week as well). I can't believe how "under the radar" this is - and it's just so devastating.

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    Thanks for taking this up Julie it's really devastating, We will spend about $15,000 on IVF and associated costs this financial year and that's WITH the safety net. Have emailed Nicola Roxon and Anthony Albanese - it would be good if BellyBelly could send an email to all their member to take up this course - does anyone know who/how we could ask for that?

    Sara

  16. #16

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    Sara - I've raised that - I believe BellyBelly is looking into it.

    I don't usually write letters - but this is just shocking. Also, it seems that anything is on the table. According to the woman I spoke to at the clinic - it may be a means tested safety net OR a decision that IVF just won't be covered! Either way - really bad. But it does mean that no one may be exempt - thus even if one doesn't think they'd ever be above the safety net threshold, there may still be reason to worry!

  17. #17

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    Hi BulieJ - thanks for this, I'll be sending one to my local Parliament for sure! Disgusting they're even considering it!

  18. #18

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    I've been reminded that the previous Gov't wanted to limit the number of cycles a woman could undertake each year (pre budget 2004?) under Medicare and the overwhelming public outcry caused them to drop that one. The two scenarios you have outlined are worse than this was IMO.

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