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06 Jan 2015

Submission for MRI rebates


The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) recommended that breast MRI be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for the following two purposes:

  • Local staging and/or early treatment, monitoring and planning for women presenting with metastatic breast cancer in the lymph nodes where conventional imaging and examination fails to show the source of the tumour
  • MRI guided biopsy in patients with suspected breast cancer where the lesion is only identifiable by MRI if repeat ultrasound is also included in the item descriptor.

The Australian Government accepted the recommendation and these two indications were added to the MBS on 1 November 2016. This means a Medicare rebate is now available for a breast MRI for these purposes.

BCNA will continue to advocate for further extension of the breast MRI Medicare rebate.


Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has provided a submission to the MSAC in support of an application to extend the current Medicare rebate for breast MRI for a range of new purposes, including:

  • pre-operative planning
  • lobular breast cancer, where conventional imaging (mammogram and ultrasound) is inconclusive
  • where breast cancer is found in the lymph glands but the original tumour in the breast has not been found.

Research undertaken by BCNA with our members found that many women are being recommended breast MRI by their doctors, and that they are unable to access a Medicare rebate for it. The average out-of-pocket cost to women is $555, with some women paying up to $1,600 for a single breast MRI scan.

BCNA thanks the following Consumer Representatives for their assistance with this submission:

  • Anne Holmes
  • Leslie Gilham
  • Geraldine Robertson

More information

For more information on this submission, please consider the following resources: