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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Does my insurance pay for palliative care?

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  • CareSearch is an online resource designed to help those needing relevant and trustworthy information and resources about palliative care. The website has been funded by … View Profile

    CareSearch is an online source of free, trustworthy evidence-based palliative care information with separate sections written specifically for consumers and health professionals. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

    When someone has a serious illness there are many financial matters that will need to be discussed. Palliative care costs are normally covered either by Medicare or private health insurance. However, this may not always be the case. It is important to find out as soon as possible who pays for what, and what additional financial costs may need to be met.

    Who pays can depends on whether care is being provided at home or in the hospital. There may be costs attached to services that are accessed in the community. There may be limits to length of stay in hospitals or hospices depending on the health insurance policy and the hospital.There may also be extra costs associated with medications and equipment.

    Some private health funds include cover for home nursing (as part of the hospital cover). This means that a person can elect to be treated by a nursing service as a private patient.  A number of policies, including income protection insurance, allow a claim to be made when someone is seriously ill. Sometimes a medical assessment is required. A doctor or social worker can help with filling in these forms.

    There are different types of superannuation, health insurance, and life insurance policies. Some superannuation schemes also include life insurance. The Government now allows early access to superannuation (as a tax free lump sum) for people with a terminal illness. Most employers can provide accurate information. Many unions also have advisors to help with superannuation or personal leave entitlements.

    Domiciliary Care and Home Care group can sometimes provide equipment and care support in the home. Fees may apply. If equipment is not available, these agencies can recommend private hire agencies at reasonable rates.If an ambulance needs to be called, it will cost money in some states, but not in others. Don’t be afraid to ask about the cost of these services. It is better to know in advance than receive an unexpected bill. Ambulance cover is available in some states and may be an option. More information is available in the CareSearch financial resources page.

    Carer Payment is provided to a person engaged in full time care and unable to work or seek employment. Carer Allowance is provided when a person is providing full time care to a person with a severe medical condition. The carer allowance is not means tested. Eligibility for both payments needs an assessment by a doctor or a nurse. Social workers are skilled in providing assistance with this matter. More information on the Government payments is available from Centrelink.You can find out more about financial matters in palliative care here on the CareSearch website.  The site also provides information on the costs of care, getting financial help and advice, financial resources including Centrelink, and the impact of care on superannuation.

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