Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for a Health Care Card
You may be eligible for a Health Care Card if you get specific payments or supplements from us or the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A.
Benefits of a Health Care Card
A Health Care Card entitles you to cheaper prescription medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and to various concessions from the Australian Government.
These could include:
- bulk billing for doctor’s appointments. This is your doctor’s decision
- more refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- assistance with hearing services through the Office of Hearing Services
- discounted mail redirection through Australia Post
You may get some of these Australian Government concessions for a dependent child.
State and Territory Governments and local councils may offer concessions, such as:
- energy and electricity bills
- health-care costs, including ambulance and dental and eye care
- public-transport costs
Please check with your State and Territory Government regarding which concessions are available to Health Care Card holders. Concessional entitlements may vary between States and Territories.
When using Medicare services, you need to present your Medicare card.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- determine if you need to submit a claim or will automatically get one
- register an intent to claim
- decide how you will claim: online or using a claim form
- complete your forms
- gather your supporting documentation and complete any additional forms required
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your card
Renewing a Health Care Card
Your Health Care Card is issued for 1 year from the date you are granted the qualifying payment. It is automatically renewed annually if you remain eligible for that payment. If you receive:
- Sickness Allowance, your Health Care Card is issued for the period of the current medical certificate up to a maximum of 13 weeks
- Carer Payment (Child) episodic or short term care, your Health Care Card is issued for a period of 26 weeks
Digital concession cards
If you already have a concession or health care card, you can also access a digital image of your card from your Digital Wallet on your Centrelink Express Plus mobile app. The Digital Wallet allows you to present your concession or health care card using your smart device.
To access the Digital Wallet, eligible customers need to download the latest version of the Centrelink Express Plus Mobile app.
Access your digital concession or health care card by logging on to your app and selecting Digital Wallet from the side menu or simply rotating your smart device on its side. Your card will:
- drop down from the top of the screen
- swipe vertically to show the front and the back of the card, and
- shimmer slightly
If you have more than 1 concession or health care card, you can swipe horizontally to access the card you need.
The Digital Wallet provides real time concession entitlement. If your concession or health care card is no longer active, EXPIRED will appear across the card and will be displayed for 28 days before it’s no longer available through your app. There may be circumstances where you should continue to use your physical concession or health care card. If your Digital Wallet is not accepted by a concession provider, please contact us with their details by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lost or stolen card
Change of circumstances while holding a Health Care Card
You need to tell us if your circumstances change. For instance, if your income goes up, or you start or return to work, or you change your address.
If you stop receiving your payment, we will automatically cancel your Health Care Card.
If you return to work, you need to ask us whether you can keep your Health Care Card for a short time.
There are concession card rules that might affect you if you leave Australia.
Health Care Card and Pensioner Concession Card while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country your concession card will be cancelled when you leave.
If you leave Australia temporarily, your card will remain current for up to 6 weeks provided your payment also remains current.
If you remain overseas for longer than 6 weeks and your payment remains current your concession card will be restored on your return to Australia. You can continue to use your existing card on your return to Australia.
If your payment is suspended while you are overseas and is restored on your return to Australia your concession card will be restored with your payment. You can continue to use your existing card on your return to Australia.
If your payment is cancelled while you are overseas and you reapply for your payment on your return to Australia, a new concession card will be sent to you if you receive a new payment.
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia’s immigration department when you leave Australia and when you return.
Other concession and health care cards
Concession and health care cards can help you access cheaper health care services and medicines.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
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