The Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) covers 80% of the patient's out-of-pocket costs once they reach a certain threshold.

The Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) provides a further rebate on top of the Medicare Safety Net for Australian families and singles that incur high out-of-pocket cost for out-of-hospital services.

The difference between the doctor's charge and the Medicare rebate is the patient’s out-of-pocket cost.

The EMSN provides 80% of any further out-of-pocket expenses for out-of-hospital costs in a calendar year, once the relevant thresholds have been met. For concession cardholders and families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A the threshold is $647.90 (as at 1 January 2016). For all other Medicare cardholders the threshold is $2030.00 (as at 1 January 2016). For example:

EMSN Threshold Met Doctor’s Fee MBS Rebate(at 100% Scheduled Fee *) Out-of-Pocket Cost before EMSN Rebate EMSN Rebate (80%)  Out-of-Pocket Cost
Initial specialist consult $141.00 $85.55 $55.45 $44.36   $11.09

 * The Medicare benefit is paid at 100% of the Scheduled fee because the Medicare Safety Net threshold has been reached.

Eligibility for the threshold lapses on 31 December each year and must be re-established from January 1 each year. Attached for further information is the Guide to Understanding the Medicare Safety Net.

Upper limits apply to the amount of EMSN payable for:

  • all consultation items, such as GP, Specialist, Consultant Physician, Psychiatrists attendances.
  • a range of procedural items (see comprehensive list here).
  • assisted reproductive technology (ART) services (MBS items 13200-13209 and 13212-13251);
  • two services for injections of poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) for the treatment of facial lipoatrophy (MBS items 14201 and 14202);
  • obstetric services (MBS items 16400-16609, 16618 and 16624-16636);
  • two services relating to video conferencing for ART and selected obstetric services (MBS items 13210 and 16399).
  • some pregnancy related ultrasounds (MBS items 55700-55730 and 55762-55775).