Health / Wellbeing

Endometriosis and PCOS appointments will now have better Medicare coverage

The Budget for the next financial year was announced and released on Tuesday, 14 May 2024 - and this is not your average Budget.

Many people, myself included, were underwhelmed by the previous "anti-inflationary" Budget, which offered nothing for the average, single person. But the new Budget plan is a refreshing change, especially for women. Among the new supports for women fleeing violence and superannuation now paid on maternity leave, there have finally been some changes to female healthcare.

At long last, the longer specialist appointments needed to address endometriosis, pelvic pain, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other complex gynaecological conditions will now have further coverage under Medicare from July 2025.

There are now two new rebates - $168.60 for an initial 45 minute or longer appointment and $84.35 for a follow-up 45 minute or longer appointment. The previous rebates were $95.60 and $48.05, respectively. As long as you've set your Medicare details up on MyGov and linked your bank account, the rebates will automatically drop into your account.

Pelvic conditions are not always easy to diagnose and treat. After 18 months of tests, I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2022, and the entire process required five specialist appointments ranging from $220 to $450 per appointment. It was an overwhelming amount of money to part with that caused an extreme amount of stress. And my situation is hardly uncommon. Managing a pelvic condition is a huge cost that can wipe out savings accounts clean, or potentially put some people into debt. And no one should have to go into debt to access essential medical care. While the rebates still won't cover the full cost of many appointments, this new change will go a long way to helping people with chronic female health conditions.

In addition to the rebates, another key change hopes to increase the number of medical professionals who can assist in the treatment of gynaecological conditions. There is a new scholarship fund called the Primary Care Nursing and Midwifery Scholarship Program. It will help nurses and midwives get the qualifications needed to prescribe, order pathology and give their patients referrals.

$49.1 million has been committed to providing 430,000 more services to people with female anatomy across the country. This means, that since coming into power, the Labor Government has now committed a total of $107 million to gynaecological conditions.

It's about damn time.

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