Indigenous Access Program

Improves the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians through better access to Medicare services.

If you are an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander, you can get better access to Medicare services to help with your health.

Medicare services include the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the Australian Organ Donor Register, the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and other services.

The program provides:

  • Medicare Liaison Officers for Indigenous Access
  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line on 1800 556 955

Benefits of the Indigenous Access Program

Our promise is that we will deliver great service to all Australians and we are working with Indigenous communities and health care providers to improve access to our services.

Within each of the States and the Northern Territory, we have a network of Medicare Liaison Officers for Indigenous Access with a diverse range of culturally appropriate skills and expertise. These officers work closely with Indigenous communities, Aboriginal medical services and other health service providers.

The key responsibilities of the Medicare Liaison Officers for Indigenous Access are to:

  • provide Medicare education and training to health service staff in order for them to increase Indigenous enrolments in Medicare and to ensure correct Medicare benefits are claimed, resulting in increased Medicare revenue for the Indigenous health services
  • provide support and expert advice to health service staff and providers when new Medicare initiatives are released
  • undertake field trips and visits to health services, local communities, prisons and schools to address issues
  • represent and promote Medicare Australia programs and services at local Indigenous forums and events

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line is supported by staff who are culturally aware of the special conditions that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Call 1800 556 955.

Closing the Gap - PBS Co-payment Measure

As an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patient, you may be eligible to participate in the Closing the Gap - PBS Co-payment Measure and get cheaper Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines.

Eligibility for the PBS Co-payment Measure

The PBS Co-payment Measure is intended to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of any age who have an existing chronic disease or are at risk of getting one and who, in the opinion of their general practitioner (GP):

  • would experience setbacks in the prevention or ongoing management of chronic disease if the person did not take the prescribed medicine, and
  • are unlikely to stick to their medicines program without help from the measure.

Your GP will assess your eligibility. If you are eligible, you will need to give your GP consent by completing a Patient Consent form. Your GP will then need to register you for the measure and complete a Patient Registration form.

Once you have been registered, you will have access to co-payment relief for your PBS medicines. For more information about eligibility for the measure or the registration process, speak to your GP.

Effect of the PBS Co-payment Measure on the PBS Safety Net

The PBS Co-payment Measure does not affect the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net for patients participating in the measure, or their families.

The amount that can be added towards a family’s PBS Safety Net tally for each prescription is the same amount that would have been added without the measure.

Prescriptions eligible for the PBS Co-payment Measure

To ensure your prescription is eligible for co-payment relief, ask your GP to check that your prescription has been endorsed.

The Medicare Safety Net

When you need to see doctors, specialists or have tests where you have to pay money, it may cost you less after you reach the Medicare Safety Net threshold.

Individuals are automatically registered for the Safety Net but couples and families need to register.

If you use an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service or other doctors who bulk bill, it will still be free.

Accessing better health services

If you register for a Medicare card it will make seeing a doctor and some health specialists cheaper or free. It can help you:

  • save money on blood tests
  • save money on medicine
  • keep track of children's immunisation

Read the brochure: Have a Medicare card - it's your right.

Download a Medicare enrolment application form.

Speak to someone about your health services

We have a freecall telephone service to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line is supported by staff who are culturally aware of the special conditions that affect Indigenous people. Call 1800 556 955.

The Voluntary Indigenous Identifier program

We promote voluntary identification within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is completely voluntary and the option to do so is on all our forms.

The information captured by our forms is used to assess the effectiveness of our programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The aim is to enhance the quality of everyone’s health and to improve access to health programs by directing services and funding to locations that need them most.

All data we collect is held securely and protected by privacy rules. When information is grouped for statistics or reports, it contains no names or identifying facts. Your identity is closely protected.

If you would like more information, please call the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line on 1800 556 955.

To register with the program, fill in the Voluntary Indigenous Identifier form and send it to:

Indigenous Access Program
PO Box 1001
Tuggeranong DC ACT 2901