Because breast reconstruction is not a cosmetic procedure, any excess costs paid that are not reclaimable through a health fund or Medicare may attract a tax rebate.
Keep a list of all medical costs that are not reclaimable in any one financial year (including other surgery such as the mastectomy, drugs, dressings, physiotherapy and other treatments). If these costs are higher than the threshold set by the ATO, it may be possible to claim 20% of the cost in that year’s tax return.
Financial assistance for travel and accommodation
Travel away from home can result in travel and accommodation costs. If you have to travel for breast reconstruction, you may have other costs to consider, such as loss of income, child care costs and daily living expenses. Some breast reconstruction surgeons may give a discount to pensioners or those with health care cards.
All states and territories have limited subsidies available to assist with travel for approved medical specialist services. Successful applicants receive subsidised travel and accommodation to the nearest medical specialist facility. Excess costs must be covered by the individual. Some schemes subsidise interstate travel if necessary. Travel and accommodation costs for an accompanying adult may be paid if the medical referral indicates that an escort is needed to help provide care during treatment.
Applicants must be permanent residents of a rural area in their state or territory and eligible for Medicare subsidy. A medical practitioner must complete and sign the application. The applicant must produce all receipts or evidence of costs for reimbursement. Payment in advance is available in some cases of financial hardship. Some government offices will also provide assistance for travel and accommodation arrangements. Travel assistance may be limited to a certain amount or only cover initial treatments and not follow-up treatments. Women may not be eligible if they are receiving assistance through another scheme.
Further information can be found at the state and territory government websites:
- WA - Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS)
- NT - Patient Assistance Travel Scheme (PATS)
- SA - Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS)
- NSW - Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS)
- Tasmania - Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (PTAS)
- Queensland - Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS)
- Victoria - Victorian Patient Transport Scheme (VPTAS)
- ACT - Interstate Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (IPTAS)