Australia’s disability program gets a shot in the arm

Disability InsuranceThe Australian government’s Productivity Commission launched an inquiry into the nation’s disability insurance schemes and has release their findings in a report published this week. The commission found that the country’s current support system is unsustainable and does not provide enough support to the great amount of people suffering from disabilities.

The commission is proposing a $12 billion a year insurance scheme. Currently, the government spends $6.2 billion per year insuring the disabled. An additional $6.3 billion will be needed to help another 360,000 disabled Australians. The insurance coverage would help those that were born with disabilities or acquired them through injury or illness.

“Taking into account Australia’s wealth and economic growth,” says John Walsh of the Productivity Commission. “The costs are manageable and justified.”

Two plans have been proposed. One is a small, state-based injury insurance plan that will provide coverage for those that have been left disabled after an accidents or other serious injury. The other is a plan similar to Medicare that is designed to provide long-term support for those born with significant disabilities.

It is estimated that nearly 800 Australian citizens develop a disability due to some form of accident every year.

The commission has recommended that both plans be incorporated gradually beginning in 2013. Should all go according to plan during then, the no-fault disability insurance system will be in full swing by 2018.

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