Am I eligible for financial assistance to cover my accommodation costs when travelling to hospital?
This is a question many patients and carers ask when travelling long distances for medical care. Equally, a similar number of Australians don’t ask this question as they are simply unaware of the subsidy schemes available.
MediStays are here to support patients and their loved ones reduce the financial burden of travelling for medical care. We have also produced a series of helpful articles specifically addressing the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).
We will also focus on questions we have been asked at MediStays, including:
Am I eligible to claim the accommodation subsidy?
How far do I need to travel to claim PATS?
How much is the accommodation subsidy?
Is there are minimum stay to claim the accommodation subsidy?
Do I need to pay out of pocket expenses?
What if I stay with a relative?
Do I receive accommodation subsidies if I am flying interstate?
Can I claim the accommodation subsidy when my husband is in hospital?
To get started, every State and Territory has different eligibility criteria for claiming PATS.
As a general guide, depending on where you live you need to travel more than 50km or 100km each way from your home to the hospital. Or, for people claiming the travel allowance (without accommodation) you will need to travel an average distance of, for example, 500km over one week. This scenario applies to people receiving cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Most jurisdictions also need your travel for specialist medical care to be ‘approved’. Depending on where you live your medical specialist, nurse or local hospital may be eligible to refer you for PATS.
Financial support for accommodation subsidies also varies greatly from one region to the next.
For example, in NSW accommodation subsidies under the IPTAAS start at $43/night for stays less than a week, and increase to $120/night for longer stays. This subsidy is similar to other regions, including WA and Victoria.
The Tasmanian government supports patients who need to travel from Tasmania to the mainland with accommodation subsidies of up to $174/night. This subsidy fully covers the cost of all accommodation provided by our partners near major Melbourne hospitals.
Supporting our community
There have been a significant number of government and independent reviews into the costs of travelling for medical care and subsidies offered. This work is ongoing and will hopefully develop over time, both in terms of the allowances paid and systems available to expedite reimbursements. Helping our community to understand the PATS process is an important part of our role at MediStays.
We understand the financial stress of travelling for medical care and hope to support you with helpful and practical information to make your journey easier. For further information and links to your local PATS site, please visit the MediStays Financial Support page.