Health

More senior Australians to get cheaper health care and medication under $70m Coalition election pitch

More self-funded retirees would be able to access cheaper health care and medication under a multi-million-dollar Coalition election promise to tackle cost-of-living pressures for tens of thousands of older Australians.

If elected in the May poll, the Coalition is promising to spend $70 million over four years giving an extra 50,000 older Australians access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).

The card is currently issued to about 436,000 Australians over 67 who do not qualify for the age pension because the value of their assets is too high and gives them access to some cheaper Medicare services and prescription medicines.

It comes with a singles income test of just under $58,000 a year, but the Coalition is proposing to expand eligibility for the card by increasing that to $90,000 from July 1.

The couples’ threshold would also rise from just over $92,000 to $144,000.

The surging cost of living has been front and center during this federal election campaign for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese, with both sides arguing they were best placed to help Australians combat higher prices.

Mr Morrison used the election pitch to again argue the Coalition was mitigating rising household pressures.

“This is the first major change, outside of indexation, to the income threshold of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card in over 20 years,” he said.

“Every dollar counts, especially for older Australians who are no longer working.

“Senior Australians have worked hard to make Australia all that it is today, and it’s important that the country takes care of them in return.”

Labor says it will match the pledge, with campaign spokesman Jason Clare telling Channel Seven it is a good idea.

Regardless of who wins the election, PBS medications will be cheaper.

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