Commonwealth Seniors Health Card identifies you as a self funded retiree. Get one.


The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card was set up to allow some Australians in later life the same access to more Medicare support and Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) medications.

Up until now, the value of applying for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card has depended on how much an Australian in later life needs medical support - if there is little or no need for medical support, there has been less incentive to apply.

This has now changed.

On Feb 11, the NSW State government announced a $200 energy rebate for self-funded retirees.

Following this the Nationals have launched the Regional Seniors Travel card, which offers $250 to for fuel and taxis from “participating providers”, and pre-booked NSW TrainLink train and bus services.

Both of these schemes are targeted at self-funded retirees - and the way they are delivered is via the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

There are 130 000 Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders in NSW. This compares to nearly 1.35 million Pensioner Concession Card holders.

Now that the NSW State Government is targeting Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders as self-funded retirees, applying for a card will no longer be just  a question of whether you can use Medicare and PBS support, it will be about identifying as a self-funded retiree.

The card can be applied for via a 17 page form or online. Many applicants get stuck when completing details of retirement income streams, or when an income situation has just changed - for example on retirement.

The card can only be applied for once age pension age is reached (which is currently 65 and a half, and will be 66 by July 1 2019), and there can be long waiting times until the card is issued.

It makes sense to get organised. Later Life Advice can help.

Brendan Ryan