$600 Million Package Provides Increased Choice for Gold Card Veterans - Friday 12 January 2007

The Australian Government’s $600 million Gold Card enhancement package is already delivering veterans increased choice in accessing private health care, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Bruce Billson said today.

Worth more than $600 million over the next five years, the package is securing veteran Gold and White Repatriation Health Card holders’ continued access to free private health care provided by specialists, general practitioners, allied health care providers, dentists, optometrists and pathologists.

“Veterans now have increased choice in seeking health care with more specialists and allied health professional opening their doors to veterans with a Gold and White Card, thanks to the Australian Government’s additional $600 million investment in the system,” Mr Billson said.

“New fees are now in place for pathologists and other specialists, allied health professionals such as audiologists, occupational therapists, podiatrists and psychologists as well as dental and optometric providers, giving veterans increased access and choice in meeting their health needs.

“More than 300,000 veterans and war widows use their Gold or White Cards to access the health care professionals they know and trust.

“The Government worked closely with health practitioners and the ex-services community in developing the package which recognises the high, and often complex, level of health care provided to Gold and White Card holders by medical professionals,” Mr Billson said.

“We have a special duty to those who fought under our flag and were damaged as a result of their service, and ensuring timely and convenient access to quality health care is delivering on that promise.”

The Australian Government provides more than $4.6 billion in funding to meet the health needs of our nation's veterans. New fee arrangements for other medical providers will be implemented progressively in coming months.

A Gold Card provides the holder with treatment and care for all health care conditions at government expense, while a White Card identifies the recipient as being eligible for treatment and care for specific conditions.

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