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Health initiatives

 

Increased mental health budget and Medicare-funded psychological service

 

As part of a $5.7 billion budget for mental health in 2020-21, the government has doubled its commitment to Medicare funded psychological services from 10 to 20 consultations.  

 

 

Mercer’s Perspective

 

With the increasing mental health challenges, facing many Australians, Mercer welcomes the increase in the mental health budget and the initiative to double the amount of co-funded psychological consultations. 

Federal Budget

 

 

Implication for employers 

This provides additional resources to employees that can supplement any employer funded EAP programs. 

 

Implication for individuals

This provides employees with additional government funding to assist with their ongoing psychological treatment.

 

 

Reforming private health insurance

 

The government has addressed the decreasing number of young Australians not having or dropping out of private health insurance by allowing Insurers to increase the age of dependents – from 24 to 31 – to encourage continuity of cover, and will also allow people with a disability to remain on their family policy.

 

 

Mercer’s Perspective

 

We encourage any initiative that will ease the financial burden on young Australians to maintain Private Health Insurance. 

 

 

Implication for employers 

This could see a number of employer funded health plan members have their premiums decreased and or see the removal of an employee contribution.  

 

Implication for individuals

This will allow parents to continue to support their older, less financially dependent children with Private Health Insurance until the age of 31.  

 

 

Medical cost finder website

 

The government will commit $17.1 million to enhance transparency of out-of-pocket costs for Australians with private health insurance via the Medical Cost Finder website. This site collects, validates and publishes individual non-GP medical specialist fees for consumers.

 

 

Mercer’s Perspective

 

Any strategy that can eliminate the confusion or mystery of out-of-pocket expenses for private health insurance members is a very welcome initiative. 

 

 

Implication for employers 

The ability to eliminate or reduce out of pocket expenses will increase the already high employee benefit of a company private health plan. 

 

Implication for individuals

Providing individuals with a clear understanding on how to minimise or reduce these out of pocket costs will increase the value proposition of private health insurance.   

 

 

Telehealth services extended for a further six months

 

The government has extended the funding of telehealth services for an additional six months from 30 September 2020.

 

 

 

Mercer’s Perspective

 

This initiative will see individuals without easy physical access to doctors and allied health services able to continue with online consultations. 

 

 

Implication for employers 

Anything that improves employee access to specialists can only improve the ongoing health of the community and workforce.  

 

Implication for individuals

Individuals unable to physically visit a specialist or allied health specialist, either due to incapacity or distance, will be able to have these consultations in the home and have them co-funded by Medicare.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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