Would you like a higher
The Medicare Safety Net provides extra financial assistance for people who have a lot of medical and health expenses.
Every Medicare Card automatically comes with an assigned Safety Net threshold. Once you have spent more than this amount, Medicare will increase your rebate for every medical and health appointment you pay for - so it costs you less to see doctors, psychologists, and other health professionals.
Is it worth it?
Only if you like saving money on appointments you're already going to be paying for.
If you, your partner, or your dependent children are seeing two or more medical or health practitioners in a year, the costs can quickly add up.
Once you've hit your Safety Net threshold, Medicare will increase the rebate you, your partner, and your children receive - so the entire household benefits.
Why is this important? Because many Australians who have not heard of the Safety Net will limit or 'ration' their health appointments throughout the year due to the cost. This can mean they don't get the help they actually need.
Safety Net Thresholds
For families who receive Family Tax Benefit A and Centrelink pensioners and seniors:
for the 2023 calendar year
For everyone else - single people, couples or families (as defined by Medicare)
for the 2023 calendar year
Safety Net Facts
Single people don't need to do anything
You are automatically registered for the Safety Net and do not need to do anything else.
Couples & families
need to register
If you're a member of a couple or a family you will need to register to share your safety net with each other (even if you're already on the same Medicare card!)
Hospital expenses not included
Only medical and health expenses you pay for in the community count towards your safety net. Health costs you pay for in-hospital do not count towards your safety net.
What if we don't register as a couple or family?
Your medical expenses will be counted as though you are a single person.
Each member of a couple would need to spend $2,414.00 on out-of-pocket medical costs (i.e., a total of $4,828.00) before they individually reached their Safety Net threshold. A couple with one child would need to spend $7,242.00 on medical expenses before they individually reached their Safety Net thresholds.
After you register as a couple or family for the Medicare Safety Net, all of your medical and health expenses get added together. This means that you need to spend a combined $2,414.00 (or $770.30) as a group to reach the Safety Net threshold. All family members then receive the higher Medicare rebate.
Remember: you need to register as a member of a Safety Net couple or family, even if everyone is on the same Medicare card.
What will my rebate be?
The current Medicare rebate for a standard 50-minute appointment with a Registered Psychologist is $89.65. This means that for a $250.00 psychology appointment, your out-of-pocket cost per appointment is $160.35.
After you reach your Safety Net threshold, Medicare will give you a rebate of around $217.00 (approx.) for the same appointment. This means your out-of-pocket cost per appointment reduces to around $33.00 - a saving of around $127.00.
How do I check if I'm registered or check my Safety Net balance?
Through the Medicare app on your phone or through your Medicare account on myGov
Go to the 'Services' menu of the app or website and then select ‘Safety Net’.
You can check whether you are registered as a member of a Medicare Safety Net family, whether you need to spend $770.30 or $2,414.00 to reach your threshold, and how much you have already spent this calendar year on out-of-pocket medical expenses.