Pension rates, PBS entitlements, health fund changes

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YourLifeChoices keeps you up to date with retirement income changes.

PBS co-payments
The maximum co-payment for general patients for drugs listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is now $41.30 per PBS script in 2021, an increase of 30 cents (or 0.7 per cent) from the 2020 level.

The PBS co-payment for concession card-holders remains capped at $6.60 per script. Federal health minister Greg Hunt said the safety net threshold for concession card-holders remained at $316.80 per year. “When a concession card-holder reaches the Safety Net threshold, they will be eligible for a Safety Net Card and receive PBS medicines free of charge for the rest of 2021,” he said.

Several new drugs have been listed on the PBS, including Darzalex, a treatment for patients with multiple myeloma, Otezla for severe chronic psoriasis and Uptravi for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Health fund premium increase
Health insurance premiums will increase by an industry-weighted average of 2.74 per cent on 1 April. Health minister Greg Hunt says singles will pay an extra $59.28 per year on average for their health insurance, families will pay an average of $126.88 more.

The specific price change for your fund depends on the insurer and the type of cover you hold. Your premium may go up by more or less than the 2.74 per cent weighted average.

Private health government rebates will also decrease from 1 April 2021, putting 65-year-olds with an average policy around $40 p/a worse off come tax time.

Super fund changes
The Super Guarantee (SG) is scheduled to increase from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent on 1 July 2021, although the federal government is yet to officially commit to the increase. Other changes expected on 1 July include: workers automatically keeping their super fund when they change jobs, fund administrators providing more details about their investment decisions and an annual performance test.

Age Pension rates
The current Age Pension rates are expected to be adjusted from 19 March. Since the most recent adjustments in March 2019 – the usual September review kept payment rates on hold because of the recession – the following rates have applied:

Single: base $860.60, supplement $69.60, energy supplement $14.10 – total $944.30.

Couple (each): base $648.70, supplement $52.50, energy supplement $10.60 – total $711.80.

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Pension rates, PBS entitlements, health fund changes

YourLifeChoices keeps you up to date with retirement income changes.

Written by Brendan Ryan

Brendan Ryan is a financial adviser and founder of Later Life Advice.


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