Medicare, the Safety Net and IVF
Most items related to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) fees have a Medicare rebate, which means that Medicare will pay for part of the cost of your treatment cycle. In addition to receiving Medicare rebates for fertility treatment, you may be eligible to receive a Medicare Safety Net rebate. The Medicare Safety Net provides an additional rebate for people who incur significant out of pocket expenses for outpatient services in a given calendar year. This could include Monash IVF and Bubtree fertility specialist fees that are eligible for a Medicare rebate. The Medicare Safety Net is not means tested and there is no limit on the number of treatment cycles you can undergo per year.
The Medicare Safety Net does not apply to inpatient services. These include your anaesthetist, hospital, and a portion of fertility specialist fees. You must register with Medicare and reach the relevant threshold in order to receive this additional rebate.
The Medicare Safety Net rebate was "capped" for Assisted Reproductive Technology services including IVF from the 1st January 2010 and there is now a limit on the maximum Medicare Safety Net rebate you are eligible to receive. Medicare called this the "Extended Medicare Safety Net benefit cap". The actual rebate from the Safety Net is difficult to estimate, as each IVF treatment is individually tailored to suit each person and the amount of the Safety Net rebate also depends on whether you have reached the Safety Net Threshold for that calendar year. Please refer to the Medicare website for the current Safety Net threshold (http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/)
You can register online at www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/online. Once registered, Medicare will automatically track your out-of-pocket expenses. You should link both partner's Medicare cards, and those of any other dependents. If you advise Medicare that your cards are linked, all of the linked parties can contribute to reaching the Safety Net Threshold. However if you are not linked, then each of you will have to meet your threshold independently.
Once you have reached your threshold you will receive an additional rebate from Medicare for relevant outpatient expenses for remainder of that calendar year. This can significantly reduce your out of pocket expenses.
Medicare revises safety net thresholds on an annual basis, and at the beginning of each calendar year your Medicare Safety Net Threshold returns to zero.
For more information on the Medicare Safety Net, Please contact Medicare on 132011 or you can call us at 1 300 853 546.