Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - increase in co-payments and safety net thresholds

From 1 January 2015 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment and Safety Net threshold amounts will increase.

This measure is subject to the passage of legislation.

Description of the measure

From 1 January 2015 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment and Safety Net threshold amounts will increase:

  • patient contributions for PBS subsidised prescriptions will increase by $0.80 for concessional and $5.00 for general patients above the annual indexation
  • PBS general and concessional safety net thresholds will increase by 10 per cent and two additional prescriptions respectively for each of the next four years. This is additional to the annual indexation.

The PBS subsidises the cost of a wide range of prescription medicines.

The PBS Safety Net reduces the costs of PBS medicines to individuals and families once they have reached a particular cost threshold during a calendar year. There are currently two tiers—general and concessional.

All Australian residents and eligible overseas visitors are provided with access to affordable medicines through the PBS. Each year the government sets a patient co-payment for general patients and concession patients, the amount of the co-payment is adjusted on 1 January each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index. The co-payment is the amount a patient pays towards the cost of their PBS medicine, and the government pays the remaining cost.

The changes under this measure are in addition to annual indexation.

Questions and answers

Who will be affected by this measure?

This measure will affect all Australian residents or eligible overseas visitors who receive subsidised medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Am I eligible for this measure?

If you are an Australian resident or a visitor from a country with a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with Australia, you may be eligible to receive medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at a lower cost.

Eligible veterans, war widow/ers and their dependents receive PBS medicines plus some other medicines at a lower cost under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).

When will this measure start and finish?

This measure will start on 1 January 2015.

Page last updated: 16 March 2016

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