By Louise O’Brien-GibsonAs the world prepares for a pivotal meeting on Medicare for Diabetes on Wednesday, this week’s issue of the Australian Financial Council’s (AFC) journal examines the potential impact of the health service on the long-term wellbeing of people with dementia.
A report by the Australian Dementias Association (ADAA) found that more than 80 per cent of Australians with dementia had no health insurance, a rate of 1.7 times higher than the general population.
The ADAA study found that for people with less than $2,000 in income, health insurance was the only form of coverage that offered at least some protection from cost-related loss.
For those in the $1,000-1,500 bracket, there was only a modest protection, with a $1.3 million premium for the average person and an additional $500 for those over 65.
For the $10,000 to $20,000 bracket, the premium is $5,000 and the cost-of-living increase is $20 a year.
For people in the higher bracket, costs of care are higher, with the average premium of $13,500.
But the ADAA report found that under the proposed changes, the Medicare system would be transformed to include a more robust form of care.
The government is proposing a national care system, including a system that would pay for the full cost of a person’s care and to provide more support to those who cannot afford their own care.
What does it mean for you?
Read moreAbout $15 billion worth of healthcare lost to diabetes over 10 yearsThe proposed changes would provide more funding for Medicare to provide specialist care for people who have diabetes, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation and cognitive rehabilitation.
The plan would also expand access to community diabetes education, which currently provides only three weeks of courses a year to people with diabetes.
The Medicare reforms also include a reduction in the annual Medicare premium for people over 65 to $25, while the number of people in Medicare will also be reduced to 6.7 million from 7.6 million.
This would include the reduction in people with a disability, and the introduction of a new eligibility requirement for people on the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
The proposed reforms also allow the government to introduce a new disability test to assess people’s ability to work.
It will be up to the states and territories to decide on the test and, if passed, the plan will be rolled out across Australia in 2019.
For more information, see the AFA’s article here.