Lifestyle article

The top 3 concession cards

23 August, 2021

When you retire you may wish to hold a concession card which can provide you with discounts on medicines, utilities, council rates and more.

Here are the top three, most popular, concession cards.

1. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

If you’re a self-funded retiree, you may be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). Card holders are eligible for various discounts and concessions such as prescription medicines at concessional rates through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Eligibility

To be eligible for the CSHC, in addition to being age pension age and an Australian resident living in Australia, you must also:

  • Not be receiving a Centrelink benefit
  • Have a taxable income of no greater than:
    • $55,808 if single
    • $89,290 for couples
    • $111,616 for couples separated by illness, respite care or prison

There is no asset test for this card.

2. Low income health care card

The low income health care card (LIHCC) may be available to you.

To be eligible for the LIHCC you must be:

  • living in Australia and be either an Australian citizen or holder of a prescribed visa such as a permanent resident visa
  • satisfy the LIHCC income test. To be eligible, your gross average weekly income for the 8 weeks prior to claim your LIHCC must be below the maximum income thresholds which varies depending on whether you are single, a member of a couple or have dependent children.

The LIHCC is issued for 12 months and Centrelink will contact you towards the end of this 12-month period to remind you to renew your card.

You may be eligible for both the LIHCC and the CSHC. If you have a Pensioner Concession Card you are generally not eligible for the LIHCC or CSHC.

3. Pensioner Concession Card

Social security pensioners (Age Pensioners, Disability Support Pension, Carers Pension and DVA service pensioners) will automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC). Some long-term income support recipients who continuously receive a payment, such as the JobSeeker Payment, for at least 39 weeks and are over 60 may also receive a PCC.

Benefits – Across cards

Common benefits across cards include:

  • Concessions on prescription medicines. Concession card holders only pay $6.60 for an item covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme compared to $41.30 for general patients.
  • Bigger refunds for out of pocket costs via a lower extended Medicare safety net (EMSN) threshold. Medicare will pay up to 80% of out-of-pocket costs for eligible out-of-hospital services over and above the current EMSN of $697 for card holders. This compares to $2,184.30 for all other singles and families.
  • Bulk billing at the discretion of the doctor.

The concessions and benefits extend beyond medical expenses. Card holders can get discounts on utility bills, council rates, car registration as well as cash rebates on energy bills. These benefits can vary across cards and states.

Ad hoc benefits

Another benefit of holding the card is that you can become eligible for ad hoc Government stimulus measures or incentives. For example, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Economic response, card holders received two lump sum payments of $750 in 2020.

Dependents

Dependents can be added to the PCC and LIHCC to receive discounted benefits if they apply and are accepted separately.

For more information on state-based benefits of each card, please visit:

New South Wales

Services NSW

Victoria

Victoria Families Fairness and Housing

Queensland

Queensland Government

South Australia

SA.GOV.AU

Tasmania

Tasmanian Government Discounts & Concessions

Western Australia

ConcessionsWA

Northern Territory

COTA Northern Territory