Almost all of us are entitled to and hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card once we turn 65, but is that all about to change?
This following is big news for our community because the Health Card helps to pay for expensive medications and visits to doctors – the eligibility criteria is about to become a lot stricter on 1 January 2015. And, in some states, you can even get a reduction on your power bill with proof of the card.
Starting on the first day of the new year, retirees who make changes to their finances after this date could lose this invaluable concession card.
Right now you can apply for a CSHC and your super income stream or account-based pensions will be exempt from the income test, however next year these accounts will be included in the means test. You can currently have income of $51,500 as a single or up to $82,400 as a couple (excluding any income or pensions) before you become ineligible for the card, but in 2015 these figures will encompass the previously disregarded income.
So what happens if you’re an existing cardholder? Your account-based pensions and/or income will not affect your eligibility for the card, unless you make significant changes to these amounts after January 1. The most affected will be those who don’t plan ahead for this substantial change, so it is advised to check with a financial planner before 1 January if you want to change pension providers or restructure your super assets.
If you already have a high level of income close to the threshold, you will need to act soon if you think your income may change, such as investments.
We can all agree that this card is of enormous benefit to us and do not want to lose it…so make sure you don’t by checking your finances and also reducing overseas holidays to less than 19 weeks, as this can cause card cancellation.
Do you have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card? How often do you use it? Will these changes affect you? What are your thoughts? Share them below.