Medicare safety net arrangements have changed since their introduction. The following tables offer a brief history of existing schemes and a simple comparison of their mechanisms.
Overview of Medicare safety net arrangements 1974 to 2017
Greatest Permissible Gap (GPG)
- 1974 Medibank introduced with GPG of $5
- 1984 Medicare introduced with GPG of $10
- 1986 GPG increased to $20
- 1996 GPG Increased to $50.
Original Medicare Safety Net (OMSN)
- 1984 original MSN introduced for individuals
- 1991 families' threshold added to the original MSN.
Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN)
- 2004 EMSN introduced thresholds of $300 (concessional and Family Tax Benefit (FTB)) Part A and $700 (general non-concessional). Thresholds are increased by CPI (Consumer Price Index) each January using the September quarter index as published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- 2006 EMSN thresholds increased to $500 and $700 respectively
- 2010 benefits capped for obstetrics, Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) and selected other services
- 2012 capping extended to all consultation items and some other items
- 2015 general non-concessional threshold increased to $2,000.
Comparison of existing Medicare safety net arrangements
|Key features||Greatest Permissible Gap (GPG)||Original Medicare Safety Net (OMSN)||Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN)|
|Eligibility||All out-of-hospital (OOH) Medicare services where the difference between the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) fee and MBS rebate exceeds the GPG amount.||All out-of-hospital (OOH) Medicare services.
Counts gaps between Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) fee and MBS rebate.
|All out-of-hospital (OOH) Medicare services.
Counts the out-of-pocket expenses for each service.
|Benefit||MBS rebate is increased to the MBS fee less the GPG amount.||All further services are rebated at the level of the MBS fee.||Benefits increased to 80% of out-of-pocket costs except where a cap applies.|
|Thresholds||2017: GPG amount $80.20.*
Affects MBS items with fee greater than $534.70.
*GPG amount is indexed annually on 1 November in line with the Consumer Price Index (June quarter).
**OMSN threshold is indexed annually on 1 January in line with the Consumer Price Index (September quarter).
***EMSN threshold is indexed annually on 1 January in line with the Consumer Price Index (September quarter).