When I started working on this campaign I did quite a lot of research on the Medicare Rebates relating to IVF and surrogacy. During my research I noted that the Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Regulations 2011 excluded Medicare rebates for item numbers 13200-13221. In the Medicare Benefits Schedule these item numbers related to various IVF procedures.
What I also noticed that ICSI (the process of inserting the sperm directly into the egg) was item number 13251. As you can see not one of the item numbers excluded from the Medicare rebates. So I asked my fertility clinic if I could receive a receipt so I could claim my rebate. They denied me.
So I rang and wrote to Medicare asking for assistance. They initially advised that all IVF treatments used for surrogacy were excluded from the rebate. I pointed out to them that this is not what the law says. So they referred my concerns to the Department of Health and Aging.
I am pleased to say, that today I have received written advice from the Department saying that my understanding of the law is correct and that I am entitled to a rebate for ICSI.
If anyone else used ICSI for their embryo creation, I’d encourage you to ask your clinic to bill you separately for this treatment so you can claim your rebate from Medicare. If you have any issues I’d encourage you to print out this letter and show your clinic, or when you ring Medicare.
This is a great small win for us!
It also poses more questions. Why are all other IVF treatments excluded for Medicare rebates but this one is not? I think this just adds to our argument that we should be receiving the full rebates.
Don’t give up everyone, I feel a change just around the corner. 🙂