Medicare to abolish cash payments. Should we be concerned?

Medicare is about to abolish cash payments from next month.

Don’t panic.  This doesn’t mean payments won’t be immediate because refunds will be paid via credit EFTPOS – where a customer swipes their debit card and allows the funds to be transferred immediately.

I was in at our local Medicare office yesterday (collecting my form to receive Childcare Tax Rebate, more on why we should all do that here) and the staff there seemed to think the changes would make little difference to most people.

However, the changes also mean that each person listed on a Medicare card and over the age of 14 needs to sign a form giving consent for payments to go directly into the account of a parent.

This won’t affect me, as we have a few years to go before we  have a 14 year old in our family. (Thank goodness!)   I did wonder whether it would be difficult for some families, and there has been some concern about it in the media, which you can read about here.

Personally,  I love having the money go direct into my account, as I tend to collect a few receipts and process them all at once.  We’ve had lots of health complications in the last couple of years so lots of costs have made this more efficient for us.  I find the money is always there the next day which makes it pretty good in my view, and one of the most accessible government services I use.

But I appreciate that some families can’t afford to do that and need their claims processed asap.  Should we be concerned about this?  Or is direct into your account just as good as cash?

Kirsten

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5 responses to “Medicare to abolish cash payments. Should we be concerned?

  1. It’s a sign of another era but my Mum used to call Medicare the Mum’s bank because Dad was paid in cash (although he didn’t keep it to himself) and she didn’t work full-time so she would save up the receipts and get some extra cash when she needed it.

    In addition to the impact on those who need immediate access to cash, another factor to consider in the whole debate is the impact on the workers at the Medicare offices. Does distributing cash make them more of a target for armed robberies? Does not distributing cash mean that may cop a bit of verbal abuse? I’d like to hear what they think…

  2. My son is just a toddler but the thought of having to ask him to sign-off on medicare claims when he is older seems bizarre – but like Emma I have wondered about the safety of the workers in an office distributing cash.

  3. I’m in the US at the moment and have a new found appreciation for the way we deal with money. Everyone over here still pays with cheque(!!) and no-one seems to want money transferred into their account. Is great service medicare can offer (now we just need to get banks to remove $2 fee for withdrawals!)

  4. I don’t mind the move as I personally prefer to operate on a minimal cash basis and just swipe everything on the card. And I agree that parking the cash in the bank first will minimise the chance of spending it immediately because it’s there – not that I’m that impulsive… but cash has a funny way of spending itself like that.

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