Overview: key Medicare safety net arrangements

A diagrammatic overview of Australian Medicare safety nets from 1974 to 2015.

Page last updated: 07 February 2017

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




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.
2017: $453.20.**
  • 2017:
  • Concession $656.30
  • Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A, $656.30
  • Non-concessional singles $2,056.30
  • All other families $2,056.30.***

*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).