Indigenous Access Program
Provides better access to Medicare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
About the program
If you are an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander Australian we can help, you can get better access to Medicare services including the:
- Medicare Safety Net
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Australian Organ Donor Register, and
- Australian Immunisation Register
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the Australian Organ Donor Register, the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and other services.
The program provides:
- Medicare Liaison Officers
- The Medicare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line on 1800 556 955
Read more about Medicare Services for Indigenous Australians.
Medicare Liaison Officers
In keeping with our promise to deliver great service to all Australians, we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health care providers to improve access to our services.
We have Medicare Liaison Officers across Australia who have culturally appropriate skills and expertise. They communicate sensitively and work closely with communities, Aboriginal medical services and other health service providers to:
- provide Medicare education and training to health service staff about Indigenous health care plans and the Medical Benefit Schedule (MBS) items available for Indigenous customers
- increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians enrolments in Medicare
- ensure correct Medicare benefits are claimed
- visit health services to provide support and advice about new Medicare initiatives and assist with any issues
- represent and promote Medicare programs and services at local Indigenous forums and events
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have higher rates of chronic diseases.
A chronic disease is an ongoing illness you have had, or are likely to have, for at least 6 months. Some chronic diseases include:
- heart disease
- arthritis or
- a stroke
A regular health check will help to identify these diseases and treat them earlier.
If you can, try to go to the same doctor or clinic. This helps make sure you are being cared for by people who know about your health needs. If you change doctors or clinics, you need to tell the new doctor the arrangements you had for your health needs with your old health care doctor.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks must be done by your usual doctor, nurse or clinic. They include:
- asking you about your health
- doing a physical examination
- organising any tests you need, and
- writing up a health plan for you
Ask your doctor, nurse or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker for more information about your health check.
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 your children's immunisations
- identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian
Enrol in Medicare or update your details using the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicare enrolment and amendment form.
Closing the Gap for PBS prescriptions
If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian with chronic disease or who is at risk of chronic disease, the Closing the Gap (CTG) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-payment Measure helps you get most prescription medicines:
- at a lower price, or
- free of charge if you have a Health Care Card
Your doctor will assess your eligibility for the scheme and will arrange registration.
CTG and the PBS Safety Net
Read more about the PBS Safety Net.
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.
If you use an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service or other doctors who bulk bill, it will still be free.
Read more about the Medicare Safety Net.
Speak to someone about your health services
Call the free Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line to speak to someone about health services available to you. Our staff are culturally aware of the special conditions that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
The Voluntary Indigenous Identifier program
If you wish, you can identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian by completing the Medicare Voluntary Indigenous Identifier form.