In Australia there is financial assistance available to help cover the cost of stoma care products and stoma care services. Your local stomal therapy nurse, continence care nurse, General Practitioner (GP), My Aged Care (1800 200 422) and Centrelink should be able to provide you with more information about what support is available to meet your individual circumstances
The Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS) is an Australian Government programme which provides support to people with a stoma by improving access to the most suitable and clinically appropriate stoma related products. Eligible persons wishing to access free appliances through the Stoma Appliance Scheme must be a member of one of the 21 National Associations located throughout Australia and pay a compulsory annual Stoma Appliance Scheme Access (SAS) Fee. The SAS Fee is an annual amount set by the Department of Health for access to the Stoma Appliance Scheme. The SAS Access Fee is a compulsory fee and is payable once per financial year upon lodgement of the first request for supply of ostomy products through the scheme for that financial year. The fee is to be paid to the Stoma Association where a member usually obtains their stoma-related products.
To be eligible to receive subsidised stoma products, a person must:
- Have a temporary or permanent body opening (whether natural or surgically created), which facilitates the removal of urine and products of the gastrointestinal tract where the person does not have normal gastrointestinal tract or bladder functions
- Be an eligible person within the meaning of the Health Insurance Act 1973. An eligible person means an Australian resident or an eligible overseas resident.
To confirm eligibility, a person must have one of the following recorded on the Stoma Appliance Scheme Application Form (Department of Human Services (DHS) – Medicare Form PB049), and may be asked to present as proof of eligibility:
- a valid Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs entitlement number;
- a valid Australian Reciprocal Medicare Card number (if the person is a resident of a country that has signed a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia); or
- a valid passport number if the person is a resident of New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
The Stoma Appliance Scheme Application Form (Department of Human Services (DHS) – Medicare Form PB049), must be signed by a stomal therapy nurse (STN) or referring health practitioner and submitted to a stoma association of their choice
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (formally CAAS) helps people aged 5 years or more who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of incontinence products.
Centrelink provides a range of benefits and entitlements to support persons living with a chronic medical condition and their carers. These include:
Health Care Card
A Centrelink issued Health Care Card entitles the bearer to various concessions from the Australian Government, Councils, some private companies and organisations. These may include:
- Reduced co payments for prescription medications
- Lower GP fees (refer to GP for more information)
- Reduced health care costs for some allied health services
- Reduced ambulance costs
- Additional refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- Concession rebates for gas, electricity, rates, water and other utilities
- Reduced public transport fares
Your local and state Government contact centre can provide you with more information about concessions are available to Health Care Card Holders.
Support for Carers
The commonwealth Carer Payment provides financial support to people who are unable to work in substantial paid employment because they provide full-time daily care to someone with a severe disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged.
The commonwealth Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment for parents or carers providing additional daily care to an adult or dependant child with a disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged. The Carer Allowance is free of the income and assets test, is not taxable and can be paid in addition to wages, Carer Payment or any other Centrelink payment.
The commonwealth Carer Supplement is an annual lump sum payment to assist carers with the costs of caring for a person with a disability or medical condition.
For more information about Centrelink benefits including eligibility criteria, please www.humanservices.gov.au
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way of providing support for Australians with disability, their families and carers. The NDIS will provide Australians under the age of 65 living with a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live an ordinary life. As an insurance scheme, the NDIS takes a lifetime approach, investing in people with disability early to improve their outcomes later in life.The NDIS helps people with disability to:
- Access mainstream services and supports
- Access community services and supports
- Maintain informal support arrangements
- Receive reasonable and necessary funded supports
From 1 July 2016, the NDIS will be introduced in stages around Australia over three years to ensure it is successful and sustainable.
Please note that current Stoma Appliance Scheme arrangements will not be affected by the NDIS and that Stoma Appliance Scheme related out of pocket expenses (eg: postage and membership fees) do not qualify for for NDIS financial support.