Financial Support and Concessions
In Australia there is financial assistance available to help cover the cost of stomal and continence care products and services. The eligibility for some of these schemes can vary from state to state. To find out which schemes you are eligible for contact your local stomal therapy nurse, continence care nurse, General Practitioner (GP) or Continence Foundation Australia's phone hot-line 1800 33 00 66. They can guide you through the application process, assess your needs and submit the application forms to the relevant authority for you.
The schemes listed below are available in all states. In addition to these you may also be eligible for local government financial help schemes.
Some of the free products and services you may be eligible for include:
- Catheters, leg bags, bed protection, gloves, wipes, washing detergent, urinals, underpants, continence medications, overnight drainage bags & bottles.
- Nappies, Dry-Nites, Pull-Ups (for children over 5 years old).
- In-home assistance, post surgical in-home nursing care.
- School education support: tutors, teacher's aids, in-home tutors for children who have long absences from school due to surgery or illness.
Stoma Appliance Scheme
The Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS), established in 1975 and subsidised by the Australian Government, provides support to people with a stoma by improving access to the most suitable and clinically appropriate stoma related products.
Products supplied under the scheme assist people with stomas to better manage their condition, and enable greater participation in society and the workforce. The stoma products which include catheters, overnight drainage bags and wipes are provided through regional stoma, continence care centres and ostomy associations across Australia. Approved products supplied under the scheme are listed in the Medicare Stoma Appliance Scheme Schedule and have been recommended by the Stoma Product Assessment Panel.
Following your Mitrofanoff surgery, your Stomal Therapy Nurse (STN) at the hospital will help you join your local stoma association and provide advice on the choice and use of stomal products. The regional Continence Care nurses can also register you for the scheme and provide advice and product supplies. If you live regionally, the local Continence Care Centre will have relevant information for local government and regional financial schemes that you may also qualify for in addition to CAPS and SAS. Read more
Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS)
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. After Mitrofanoff surgery patients are continent and it would first appear are no longer eligible, but there are exceptions to this rule and your nurse or GP can discuss your particular circumstances and advise if you are eligible. Read More
Centrelink provides a range of benefits and entitlements to support people living with a chronic medical condition. These include:
Health Care Card
A Health Care Card entitles the bearer to cheaper prescription medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and to various concessions from the Australian Government, Councils, some private companies and organisations. These may include:
- bulk billing for doctor's appointments (check with your doctor)
- reduced health care costs for allied health, ambulance, dental and eye care
- additional refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net - speak to Medicare to register for the Safety Net
- concessions for gas and electricity bills - speak to your provider
- discounted mail redirection through Australia Post
- discount on residential rates paid to Council.
Please check with your State and Territory Government regarding which concessions are available to Health Care Card Holders. Read more
Financial Support for Carers
The 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 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 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.
Read more on financial support
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a new way of providing community linking and individualised support for people with a permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. The scheme is being progressively rolled out across Australia. Read more
Chronic Disease Management
Patients who have a chronic medical condition and complex care needs may be eligible for Medicare rebates for certain allied health services on referral from their General Practitioner (GP). Your GP will generally prepare a Management Plan (Medicare Item 721) or Team Care Arrangement (Item 723). Read more
Rubbish and Recycling Bins
Some Councils and Shires will supply you with an additional or larger size rubbish / recycling bin without charge if you have medical needs that result in extra rubbish from medical supplies. Check with your Council as many supply bins at an extra charge and many will not accept bins containing rubbish deemed as medical waste.
Disabled Parking Permit
You may be entitled to a disabled parking permit. This enables you to park in designated disabled car parks. This can be invaluable when you are chronically unwell, carrying a child who is very ill or need to attend medical appointments. Read more
Travelling Overseas - Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. Australian residents can get help with the cost of essential medical treatment and stoma supplies when visiting these countries.
It is essential that you verify eligibility for supply and access to treatment before you leave Australia. Private travel insurance is still highly recommended. Read More
Additional information on concession entitlements on the Department of Human Services website can be accessed here.