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Free access to rapid antigen tests ends

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
A COVID-19 rapid antigen test and a person holding $50 notes.
Concession card holders will not longer be able to access free rapid antigen tests. (Source: Getty)

The program that allowed concession card holders to access 10 free rapid-antigen tests (RATs) from their local pharmacy has come to an end.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison announced in January that concession card holders would get access to 10 free tests over a three-month period.

People holding the Commonwealth seniors health cards, healthcare cards, low income cards, pensioner concession cards, DVA gold cards and DVA white cards were eligible.

The scheme came to an end on July 31, meaning those previously able to get free tests will now have to pay.

This comes as cases have continued to rise across the country, with more than 12,000 COVID-19 deaths recorded in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are currently 2,992 COVID-19 patients in hospitals around the country, including those in intensive care and on ventilators.

To date, Australia has recorded 9,517,174 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 12,026 deaths.

Cost of RATs

The end of the scheme also comes at a time when the cost of living has been steadily increasing.

The cost of RATs has been a source of frustration for many consumers, with prices being monitored by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Back in February, the ACCC said it was still receiving a high number of consumer reports about pricing concerns.

“Community concerns about sales practices for rapid antigen tests remain very high, for good reason,” ACCC chair Rod Simms said.

“We thank the consumers who have taken the time to pass on to us crucial information about what is happening in this market.

“These reports, and the public scrutiny, are helping to keep prices at lower levels than otherwise.”

The ACCC said consumers should not be paying any higher than $20 for a test.

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