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Why we need a fairer Medicare for optometry

Optometrists are the main providers of eye and vision care in Australia. They play a key role in preventing, detecting and managing eye disease and vision problems. Yet access to optometrists for those who need it most, is being threatened by reduced investment in optometry consultations covered by Medicare.

Government investment in optometry under Medicare was reduced by an estimated $50 million in 2015, significantly impacting on eye care access for middle-aged Australians and those in socially-disadvantaged areas. This is a direct result from the Government’s changes to Medicare rebates for optometry services.

Whilst most visual impairment is preventable or treatable, left undetected and untreated it carries a hefty personal and economic toll. Estimates suggest the total economic cost of vision loss in Australia to be over $16.6 billion.

Better access to eye care for ALL AUSTRALIANS is achievable, and affordable. The first step is ensuring fairer access through smarter investment in optometry under Medicare.

Stop the freeze to MBS optometry rebates campaign

Optometry Australia has launched the ‘Stop the freeze’ advocacy campaign which is calling on Government to commit to a fairer and more equitable Medicare for optometry.
The Government has frozen patient rebates for optometry services until July 2020. Rebates were last increased in 2012 and were cut by 5% in 2015.

If your optometrist is asking you to pay higher out-of-pocket expenses, this is the reason why. If your optometrist has not asked you to pay additional fees or charges, they are covering these costs themselves.

Optometry Australia is calling on patients and optometrists to unite to tell Government that the freeze on Medicare rebates is unacceptable.

To sign our petition click here

Optometry Australia members click here

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