Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Lifting the Income Limit for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card) Bill 2022 [Provisions]

COTA Australia welcomes that this election commitment made by the former Coalition government is being legislated by the Albanese government.  Many older people, particularly self-funded retirees, have told us they applaud the CSHC eligibility income threshold lift to $90,000 for singles and $144,000 for couples.

The proposed enhanced CSHC income limits will provide a larger “buffer” between pension eligibility and complete “self-funding”, with eligibility for concessions continuing while in the “buffer”.  We know the CSHC is valued by cardholders as it provides eligibility for pensioner level PBS concessions and in principle for bulk billing of GP, other health service charges, as well as various concessions in different jurisdictions, sometimes at lower rates than for a pensioner. In addition to the estimated 420,000 existing CSHC holders, the income threshold lift, once implemented, will positively impact the lives of 44,000 more people in the first year; a figure which will rise to over 50,000 in later years.