Push to stop patients plundering super for healthcare

Treasury paper suggests restrictions on using super after fears of misuse

A Treasury discussion paper has flagged restrictions on using super to pay for medical care amid concerns it is being used for IVF treatments and cosmetic procedures.

In the past eight years, the amount released from super funds for medical treatment has risen from about $25 million to more than $250 million a year.

Currently, the Australian Tax Office approves access to super funds if the money is necessary to “treat a life-threatening illness or injury, alleviate acute or chronic pain or alleviate an acute or chronic mental disturbance”.

The Treasury paper, Review of the Early Release of Superannuation Benefits, says the scheme’s rapid expansion is being fuelled by rising out-of-pocket health costs and long waiting lists in the public hospital system.

It suggests the system could be misused, with applications for IVF and cosmetic interventions being approved on the grounds of the ‘mental