Millions of Australians with common diseases could save hundreds of dollars on costly medical devices to help them live longer, happier lives.
People with private health insurance will pay less for medical equipment used for a broad range of conditions including heart and lung disease, arthritis and diabetes under an agreement with the federal government.
From February 1, patients with heart disease will save about $2848 on the cost of a pacemaker, reducing the price to just over $35,000. The price of an insulin pump for diabetics will drop about $450 under the agreement.
The savings will help more people get back on their feet, Medical Technology Association of Australia chief executive Ian Burgess said, because newer medical devices were about more than saving lives.
"Two of the biggest contributors to Australia's ill-health are inactivity and isolation - and the two are often linked, particularly as we get older," Mr Burgess said.
Newer devices were being designed to keep patients mobile and social.
They now also keep people able to work for longer, which is a boon for our ageing population and economy, he said.
About 7000 types of medical devices or objects, such as artificial bones and joints, come under the scheme.
It forms part of a MTAA agreement with the health department to save $1.1 billion in the cost of medical devices by 2022.
MEDICAL DEVICE PRICE SAVINGS FROM FEBRUARY 1:
* Pacemaker (heart disease) - $2848
* Insulin pump (diabetes) - $8574
* Replacement hip joint (severe arthritis) - $393
* Airflow valve system (lung disease) - $299
* Artificial leg bone (bone cancer) - $181
* Artificial (glass) eye (eye trauma) - $92
Australian Associated Press