Ktee

Aged Parent Visa 804 onshore and Medicare

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    Hi All

    Just a quick question for a member. If an aged parent applies onshore for the 804, do they receive full medicare whilst on their bridging visa A, is there any other help they get for medical expenses if required?

    Thank you for any help:notworthy:

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    Hi All

    Just a quick question for a member. If an aged parent applies onshore for the 804, do they receive full medicare whilst on their bridging visa A, is there any other help they get for medical expenses if required?

    Thank you for any help:notworthy:

     

    Hi Ktee

     

    The answer is "not that I know of."

     

    The legislation says that someone who holds a Bridging Visa pending an application for a Parent visa is NOT entitled to Medicare.

     

    http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/1024i.pdf

     

    However, as I said early on in the "Cheap Parent Visas" thread, I queried this with Medicare. Medicare told me that if the Bridging Visas holder is British then Medicare treat the person as being a British Visitor to Australia. That means that the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement between Australia and the UK kicks in, which provides the Visitor level of Medicare:

     

    http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/public/migrants/visitors/uk.jsp

     

    The price of drugs, especially, is subsidised via the RHCA but a British holder of a Bridging Visa cannot obtain a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card:

     

    http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/conc_cards_cshc.htm

     

    In England & Wales, Seniors get prescriptions filled for free. In Australia, the holder of a CSH Card pays about $6.50 per type of drug per prescription. Please imagine that Mrs Bloggs takes Drugs A & B every day for her blood pressure. The doctor givers her a scrip fora 2-month supply of each of the drugs. If Mrs Bloggs has a CSH Card then she will not have to pay more than $13. If she does not have a CSH Card but she is British, the cost will be around $70 a time. If she comes from a country that does not have an RHCA with Australia then I guess the cost would be even higher than $70 or so.

     

    My own mother has a Contributory Parent Visa. She is now 91 and she takes about 15 different prescription pills every day - for a variety of minor but chronic ailments associated mainly with her great age. She got a CPV 143, which gave her Permanent Residency in Australia from Day One. She was taking about 13 pills a day at the time (speaking as the person who sat here with the different boxes of pills, filling out Form 26 for Mum's visa medical but her doctor has added a couple more pills a day since then.)

     

    After Mum had lived in Oz for 2 years, she was able to get a CSH card and the monthly pill-bill plummeted.

     

    I can never make up my mind whether the APV 804 visa is genuinely "cheap." I used a catchy title in order to persuade other members on here to read the thread. If the Parent applies for an APV 804 then s/he will avoid the whopping (and increasingly high) premium payable for a CPV 143 instead. In return for that, I'd expect a CSH Card promptly. The Parent has already paid for the subsidy via the premium for the visa, after all.

     

    However the Aussie Government do get their pound of flesh one way or the other, it seems to me. At the moment, the average wait on a Bridging Visa pending the grant of an APV 804 is about 8 years but this period varies - it has been as high as 16 years until fairly recently.

     

    After that, the holder of an APV 804 can claim a CSH Card two years later. S/he may also be able to claim Special Benefit after 2 years:

     

    http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/special_benefit.htm

     

    Special Benefit might help to iron out the fact that the British State Pension is frozen. I don't know for sure because Mum's CPV 143 means that it would be unwise for her to try to claim Special Benefit for 10 years after her CPV 143 was granted. If she lives for long enough, after 10 years she would be entitled to make a claim for the Australian Age Pension anyway:

     

    http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/age_pension.htm

     

    I'm not enough of a mathematician to try to do the comparitive sums accurately.

     

    Also, I'm not convinced that the sums are the most important thing. Personally, I think that Family Unity is far more important than money. The Child in Australia can subsidise the cost of the pills if need be, I believe. Any children in another country could help.

     

    So (personally) I believe that the only relevant question is, "What will make this Parent happy?" It does seem to me that that is the overriding consideration.

     

    At the time (2005) that my sister in Oz and I discussed it and concluded that a CPV 143 would be the best option for Mum, Mum did what she always does if she gets half a chance! She'll try to Run Interference if she can. She was 84 and whinged, "Is it really worth spending this amount of capital at my age?" etc etc. Elaine and I both told her, "YES! Now shut up and sign here!"

     

    That sounds harsh but you don't know my Mum. She thought she was settling down for at least a year's worth of International Committee Meetings about the subject, with herself as the main player!

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    Hi,

     

    My mum is the holder of a Bridging Visa A and she is entitled to Medicare. All you need to do is take the letter you get sent from immigration with you to the Medicare office. She is still a British Citizen and therefore the recipricol agreement still applies. She still has to do this every 12 months but she has not had any problems renewing her card.

     

    Karen

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    Hi Karen

     

    Many thanks for adding to the thread.

     

    It is very difficult to make the "right" decision for the family concerned. Some families can find the money for a CPV (but paying for two would make anyone blench, I suspect.) When my father was alive, he and Mum would not have been eligible for Parent migration because he had a daughter by his first wife and then two more daughters with his second wife, Elaine's and my mother.

     

    Then after Dad died, the Australian Government continued to insist that Mum was not eligible for Parent migration because they said she has three "children," only one of whom lives in Australia. Then in 2004 the Australian Government eventually accepted that a stp-child who is over 18 cannot be counted as a "child" if the step-child's natural parent has died or the overarching contract of marriage to the step-parent has otherwise ceased to exist.

     

    We found out about this the following year, in 2005, when Mum happened to be in the UK with me at the time. Mum was 84 and Elaine (my full sister) Anne (Elaine's and my half-sister) and I all decided that we should strike whilst the iron was hot. Mum wasn't getting any younger and her health was unlikely to improve, plus we were concerned that the Australian Government might change the legislation because apparently the 2004 exclusion of the step-child had been due to an oversight in the drafting of a legislative provision in 1999 that was not intended to alter the Balance of Family Test for Parent migration. Oversights can be corrected very quickly, I feared, so we concluded that the safest option would be to spend the money and grab a CPV 143 for Mum as soon as we could.

     

    It probably wasn't necessary to worry so much but Mum was widowed in 1991. She had spent every year from 1992 -2005 spending most of her time in Australia, relying on a succession of long-stay Tourist Visas and the Australian High Commission in London made it clear that they were becoming stroppy about that. So we decided to move quickly and just get the job done, once and for all, just in case....

     

    The only family I know personally where the Parents are on a Bridging Visa pending an APV 804 are my friend Mary's parents, who have been living in Adelaide on Bridging Visas since December 2009. I exchange e-mails with them regularly since Mary's mother and I used to chat on the phone regularly when they lived in the UK. Mary's father was adamant. He felt that paying for two CPVs would be far too expensive and would leave them short of cash. He went to see DIAC in Adelaide and the lady there suggested that he could consider the APV 804 visa if he preferred.

     

    He came back to the UK and mulled it over. Meanwhile I contacted Medicare and studied the Centrelink website. My own feeling was the same as that of the lady from DIAC - it was more important for Mary's parents to be with their two daughters and their grandchildren in Adelaide than to worry about which visa was chosen. Financial difficulties can be lessened. Physical separation and worrying about loved ones is much harder to cure.

     

    They are now very happy. They have made a circle of friends of their own age and are doing far more than they used to do in the UK. The better climate seems to be the most important factor in making this possible.

     

    It must be just over a year since your own mother applied for an APV 804, isn't it? Is she talking Strine yet?!

     

    Personally I think that you are an extremely valuable "witness" for anyone facing the CPV/APV dilemma. I only know what Mary and her Parents tell me about their everyday lives. You have first-hand experience of this, which I do not have, so I am desperately keen to persuade you not to become bored with this forum/the subject!

     

    It sounds as if Immigration leave the Parents alone and the Parents on Bridging Visas just live completely normal lives?

     

    Happy New Year to you, your Mum and the rest of your family, hon.

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    Hi again, Karen

     

    I forgot to ask you in my earlier post, Does your Mum now have a Seniors Card for SA? If yes, is it useful?

     

    http://www.seniorscard.com.au/

     

    Ktee, Seniors Card is not the same as a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. I'm not sure who administers Seniors Cards but it isn't Centrelink and the exact terms of the discounts etc vary from one State to the next but I don't know whether the State Governments administer Seniors Card or whether they merely participate in the Seniors Card scheme in their State.

     

    Hayshake, a member of Poms in Adelaide, told me about Seniors Card originally. He said that the people who administer Seniors Card in SA reckon that the SA Seniors Card scheme is more generous than in some other States.

     

    Having heard about it from Hayshake, I told my sister Elaine. She and Mum live in Perth so they got a WA Seniors Card for Mum. Mum is in a wheelchair and it is not practical for her to use public transport. Also, they live on the outskirts of Perth and I don't know whether it would be worth trekking to, say, a hairdresser who offers a discount for Seniors Card holders. However Mum had a Seniors Card at the time when Kevin Rudd decuded to give everyone the Economic Stimulus bung of $900 apiece. The Government of WA decided to give all the holders of WA Seniors Cards an extra $100 each and then they gave them another $100 each fairly recently.

     

    Mary's father investigated this in SA. He was told that he and his wife could have Seniors Cards even though they are not Permanent Residents because their intention is clearly to live in SA permanently. The Seniors Card people don't seem to worry about visa details the way the Centrelink people do. Mary's parents know another couple who are on Bridging Visas pending APV 804s. He said that this other couple have Seniors Cards and that he planned to get them for himself and his wife but I haven't heard whether he did so.

     

    My mother certainly thinks that the WA Seniors Card is useful and Hayshake was enthusiastic about the SA one, too.

     

    So I'm just wondering whether Karen's Mum has one and whether she finds it useful? Some of the British Parents in Oz seem to disparage Seniors Card as if it is the same as OAP bus-tokens in the UK but it actually sounds considerably more useful than that, I suspect?

     

    Many thanks

     

    Gill

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    Hi,

     

    My mum is the holder of a Bridging Visa A and she is entitled to Medicare. All you need to do is take the letter you get sent from immigration with you to the Medicare office. She is still a British Citizen and therefore the recipricol agreement still applies. She still has to do this every 12 months but she has not had any problems renewing her card.

     

    Karen

    Karen thank you for your reply, is the Medicare only for emergencies, for example if your mum had a tummy upset and had to go to the Drs would she receive any of the $70 consultant fee back through Medicare?

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    Hi Ktee

     

    I'm not Karen but my own mother has the same issue with GP's bills.

     

    Medicare pays $x towards the cost of a consultation with a GP and this amount is the same whether the patient is a Permanent Resident or a British Visitor. Last time I checked the Medicare website, $x was about $32 at the time but I would think that has probably increased to something like around $36 by now. Most GPs reckon that a fair price for a consultation is $60 or $70.

     

    Some GPs will charge the patient the full $70 and leave the patient to recover the statutory contribution from Medicare.

     

    Other GPs will charge the patient $70 minus the statutory contribution from Medicare and the GP collects the stautory contribution from Medicare.

     

    Other GPs, like the one my mother uses in Perth, have a social conscience! He does "bulk billing" for children and the elderly. So when a child or an OAP consults Dr Oi, he only charges the statutory amount paid by Medicare and he sends the bill direct to Medicare, so from Mum's point of view the service is free at the point of delivery.

     

    There are doctors in every major city who do the same as Dr Oi does over in Perth. The trick is to find a doctor who does this "bulk billing" routinely or who could be persuaded to do it for your mother.

     

    The contract for GP services in Australia is not the same as the one in the UK, which is why there is this difference in their practices. In the UK, most GPs get most of their money from the NHS. Successive Governments have had an ideological belief that the State must pay for the consultation with an NHS GP, not the patient.

     

    I've never consulted a doctor in the USA but as far as I can gather, the Australian Medicare system is probably a cross between the NHS in the UK and the largely private, 'patient pays' system in the USA. I'm not certain because I'm not sure of the American details but I think my guess is probably roughly accurate.

     

    We didn't make any conscious effort to find Dr Oi. My sister was already using him by the time Mum & Dad first visited Perth in 1989-90. They were there for a year and Mum has had high blood pressure ever since I can remember so Dr Oi got the job of looking after her and she has stuck with him whenever she has been in Australia ever since. I've met him a couple of times and from what I've seen of him and heard about him, I think he is first rate.

     

    Unless Karen knows of a GP in Adelaide who does bulk billing for elderly patients, I've an idea that might help both of you. A friend of mine is a British lady called Doreen who works for SA Health. Doreen is a Medical Adminsitrator but she specialises in Aged Care services with SA Health. The Aged Care team at SA Health might keep a list of the local GPs who bulk bill for Aged patients (ie anyone of Age Pension age, which is 65 or above.) So one possibility would be for you and I (or you, I and Karen) to ask Doreen whether she could find out about this and help you with it? I have her phone number, e-mail address etc.

     

    Another possibility might be to ask the staff in the local Medicare office. They pay the bills so presumably they could be persuaded to fess up with the names of the bulk-billing GPs?

     

    I told a lass in Perth about Dr Oi for her own mother's benefit. From where Shona and her Mum live, I'd have thought that an hour's drive to see Dr Oi would take too long. Shona seemed to think that the distance would not be a problem.

     

    I don't know what happens in Australia if someone needs to see a GP after hours. The only time Mum has ever needed a doctor in the evening, she had fallen and broken her hip so the ambulance took her straight to Fremantle Hospital. The ambulance crew told my sister that a public hospital is much the best place for that sort of situation because the public hospitals have doctors and surgeons either on the premises or on call at very short notice. Fremantle Hospital were superb. As soon as they had done the x-rays and blood-tests, they took Mum straight into theatre and replaced her hip. She was in theatre within 2 hours of falling over at home. I've heard of old people in the UK being made to wait for 3 days before the same sort of operation caused by the same sort of accident.

     

    But I don't know what happens in Oz if someone needs a visit from a GP after hours but the patient is not sick enough to need to go to hospital. I imagine that Medicare could explain this unless someone else on here can?

     

    The other thing to bear in mind is that if your mother is going to be a British Visitor to Australia then you must, must, must make sure that she has emergency ambulance insurance, just in case. Emergency ambulances are not free in Australia and they charge according to how much help the patient needs whilst en route to hospial. I've heard of them charging as much as $800 for a one-way ride to hospital in Brisbane. The man was only in his 40s and was visiting from the UK but he suddenly became very ill and it took the hospital several days to work out what was wrong with him. He was very poorly during the ambulance journey, which was why the bill was so high.

     

    I believe that most household insurance policies offer ambulance cover but if for any reason your own household insurance policy would not provide ambulance cover for your mother, I believe that people like the Red Cross offer special one-off insurance policies for ambulance cover only. Again, I would guess that the local Medicare office would probably be able to give you names and contact details if need be.

     

    Hope this helps and please send me a PM if you think Doreen might be able to help.

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    Guys,

     

    My mum usually goes to a GP that Bulk Bill so she doesn't have to pay anything. If she has any private consulations like x rays/scans/ultrasound she only has to pay the gap.

     

    Gill : Mum does not have a seniors card either as I have made some enqs by phone and I dont think she's entitled to it. The trouble is you get a different answer from each person you call!!!. My mum (and I for that fact) are terrified of her having someting she is not entitled to and then getting into trouble and having to pay money back. Thats not to say she couldn't do with a bit of discount as she currently spends about $120 a month on medication. She has found ways to keep it low, for instance she gets one of her prescriptions from the hospital pain clinic which is far cheaper, she also gets the generic brand where she can.

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    I believe there are quite a few Dr's that do bulk billing, not just for kids and elderly but everyone.

     

    Ktee: where are you based???

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    Guys,

     

    My mum usually goes to a GP that Bulk Bill so she doesn't have to pay anything. If she has any private consulations like x rays/scans/ultrasound she only has to pay the gap.

     

    Gill : Mum does not have a seniors card either as I have made some enqs by phone and I dont think she's entitled to it. The trouble is you get a different answer from each person you call!!!. My mum (and I for that fact) are terrified of her having someting she is not entitled to and then getting into trouble and having to pay money back. Thats not to say she couldn't do with a bit of discount as she currently spends about $120 a month on medication. She has found ways to keep it low, for instance she gets one of her prescriptions from the hospital pain clinic which is far cheaper, she also gets the generic brand where she can.

     

    Hi Karen

     

    I suspect it is a waste of time to try to talk to the Seniors Card people on the phone. I suspect that the drill is to go and see them, to explain that Mum intends to live in Australia permanently and explain that the only reason why she isn't already a Permanent Resident visa-wise is because Paremts are not high priority applicants in DIAC's eyes so processing Mum's application for an Aged Parent visa is taking much longer than you and she would like. Emphasise the word "Aged," I suggest.

     

    I believe that the Seniors Card scheme is only a voluntary thing on all sides. There certainly isn't any Commonwealth legislation about it and I doubt whether there is much (if any) State legislation either.

     

    Indeed, the website for the QLD Seniors Card used to say words to the effect of, "Even if the supplier [of the goods or service] doesn't participate in the Seniors Card scheme, wave your card and look old and pathetic. Shame them into giving you a discount!" I chickled when I read it because it reminded me of my sister's mother-in-law who is a native Queenslander even though she now lives in Perth. Qieemslanders seem to be up-front and determined about getting what they want!

     

    Also, my sister told me about an elderly Aussie gentleman that she knows. He told her, "I always ask for everything possible. Even if I only get 50% of what I ask for, that is better than nothing." Good advice, I suspect.

     

    Mary's father definitely confirmed that he had met a British couple who live in Adelaide and are awaiting APVs. He told me that this couple had told him that they have Seniors Cards. I will e-mail him and ask more about this because it sounds like your Mum ought to be able to get one.

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    I believe there are quite a few Dr's that do bulk billing, not just for kids and elderly but everyone.

     

    Ktee: where are you based???

    Sorry Karen haven't been on for a few days, it's for a member based in Adelaide

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    Guest simpsona

    Hi Gollywobbler,

    Karen has very kindly been helping me with this topic as my MIL would be left alone in the UK when we hopefully emigrate early 2014. Hubby an only child and she was recently widowed in July 2011. Would be a have a huge impact on our family unit if she had to remain the UK for 10years waiting an APV and we could never afford the CPV. So this is looking like a life saver hopefully! Karen sent me the eligibility chart and she appears to meet the criteria (Born June 1948, turns 65 this year) So am I right in reading that if we bring her out initially on a Tourist Visa, then apply for the APV 804 once there, now that we know she meets criteria, is there any reason they would turn her down at all?? And would she definitely be given the Bridging Visa once her application is in?

     

    Would hate to build her hopes up to have her sent home, plus she could never make the journey back & forth alone as not a very confident person at all and even worse bless since she was widowed! She really needs to be with us so any help much appreciated, so glad I have found this forum as had given up hope after being told another forum to leave her behind or forget emigrating if she meant that much to us! :shocked: I thought there must be another way, I mean I will miss my parents so much but they are both over 80 and I am one of 7 children so at least I know they won't be alone but MIL has no-one whom she sees regularly apart from 2 sisters she sees maybe half a dozen times per year.

     

    Thanks in advance, Sharon

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