Australia’s delayed federal Budget 2020-21 includes health-related developments that may impact employers.
Increased mental health budget and Medicare-funded psychological services. The mental health budget will increase to AUD 5.7 billion and fund improved Medicare psychological services. Individuals will be entitled to 20 Medicare-funded psychological consultations per year, up from 10 under the current rules. These Medicare-funded mental health services will supplement coverage provided by employer-funded employee assistance programs.
Private health insurance reforms. Insurers will be able to increase the age of dependents and allow people with a disability to remain on family policies. The government will also improve transparency for out-of-pocket expenses.
Telehealth services extended. The government has extended funding for telehealth services for an additional six months through March 2021. This will enable individuals who do not have easy access to doctors and allied health services to continue with online consultations.