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SBD Global/July 17, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Medicare Sends Letter Warning Of Athletes Improperly Using Benefits For Injuries

Australia's Medicare has "identified hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of claims by professional sports players and clubs for medical benefits it believes should not have been paid," according to Nicola Berkovic of THE AUSTRALIAN. Doctors groups and sports bodies have been sent letters warning that "professional sportsmen and women should not be claiming Medicare benefits for sporting injuries for which their employers are liable." The letter said, "As part of a recent review of Medicare claiming, the Department of Human Services has identified that claims for Medicare benefits have been made where a professional ­sportsperson's employer is liable for, or has paid for the medical ­service, or where the service was provided for purposes connected to a ­professional sportsperson's employment." Legal experts say players' medical expenses "should be covered by workers compensation, or in some cases, special sports ­injuries insurance schemes could apply." All of the major sports codes, including the Australian Football League, rugby league, rugby union, cricket, football, netball and tennis, have been claiming Medicare benefits for their players for "medical services and procedures such as X-rays and surgery." Representatives of the major sports codes have "requested a meeting with advisers to federal Health Minister Peter Dutton to discuss the issue" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/17).
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