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Medicare spoil sport

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Professional athletes injured in the course of playing their sport will no longer be eligible for Medicare rebates as part of a Federal Government crackdown on the claiming system.

The Department of Human Services has written to sporting bodies, player associations and health professionals to inform them that Medicare benefits will not be paid where an athlete is injured in the course of their employment or where their employer is liable for the cost of treatment.

As part of its Medicare review, the Department found that claims have been made for Medicare benefits for the treatment of athletes injured during the course of their sport, in breach of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

Under the Act, Medicare benefits are not to be paid where a patient is injured in the course of their employment, or their employer is liable to pay for medical services.

The Department warned that, as of 24 May, any claims involving people employed to play sport would no longer be processed.

But, in a concession to the “considerable time” taken to review claims submitted by a number of sport organisations, the Department indicated that claims lodged but not processed between 1 August last year and 24 May this year would be honoured.

Adrian Rollins