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Medicare for providers

Medicare is Australia's universal health insurance scheme. Introduced in 1984, its objectives are:

  • to make health care affordable for all Australians
  • to give all Australians access to health care services with priority according to clinical need, and
  • to provide a high quality of care.

Medicare provides access to:

  • free treatment as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital
  • free or subsidised treatment by practitioners such as doctors, including specialists, participating optometrists or dentists (specified services only).

Australia's public hospital system is funded jointly by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and is administered by State or Territory health departments.

The Department of Human Services administers the Medicare program, including enrolments and benefit payments.

Contribution to the health care system is made through taxes and the Medicare levy, which is based on taxable income.

Who is eligible for Medicare?

People who reside in Australia and:

  • hold Australian citizenship
  • have been issued with a permanent visa
  • hold New Zealand citizenship, or
  • have applied for a permanent visa (other requirements apply).

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with some countries. Under these arrangements, residents of these countries are entitled to restricted access to health cover while visiting Australia.

How do I enrol?

Applications can be made in person at a Medicare Office. Those unable to visit a Medicare office can call 132 011 (local call rates) to request a form.

When enrolling, applicants will need to show documentary proof that they are eligible, (eg a birth certificate or passport). Applicants can call 132 011 (local call rates) or visit a Medicare office to confirm what they will need to provide.

Bulk Billing FAQs

In 2012 the Department of Human Services changed the way we distribute bulk bill claims forms. We also changed our procedures for processing cheque payments for bulk bill and DVA claims.

Last updated: 25 September, 2013