Concession and health care cards

Concession and health care cards can help you access cheaper health care services and medicines.

Types of concession and health care cards

The type of concession or health care card you can claim will depend on:

  • the type of income support payment you receive
  • your age
  • whether you have dependants and
  • other requirements

There are different types of concession and health care cards. Each card has its own eligibility requirements and concessions:

Concession cards from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs also issue their own concession cards to eligible veterans, former Australian Defence Force members and their dependants. Read more about the concession cards they issue on the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.

Seniors Card

Each state and territory has a Seniors Card program. It provides seniors with state and territory government concessions, private business concessions, discounts on health and lifestyle services and products throughout Australia. Read more about the Seniors Card on the website.

NSW Half-Fare Entitlement Card for job seekers

If you reside in New South Wales, have registered with us as 'looking for work' and are receiving income support or other eligible Commonwealth benefits at the maximum rate, you may be entitled to a half-fare single and return travel on some services. Read more about Concession fares for jobseekers at NSW Transport.

Benefits and concessions

Having a concession or health care card gives you access to cheaper health care services and less expensive medicines. For example, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines will be cheaper, or free, once you reach the PBS Safety Net threshold.

Your partner and children may also be covered by the card if it relates to an income support payment.

If you have a Low Income Health Care Card your children may also be covered by the card.

In addition to Medicare services, concession cards can give you, your partner and dependants other concessions from state and local government authorities and private businesses. Not all card types will attract the same type of concessions and the concessions on offer to cardholders may also vary between states and territories.

Some state based concessions may not be available to cardholders who are travelling through, or temporarily living in another state. For further information in these cases contact the individual concession providers prior to travelling.

Contact the state government health agency in your state for information on concessions available in your state or territory.

If you don't show your card

If you don't show your Medicare or concession card to the pharmacist, you may have to pay the full price for your PBS medicine.

You can ask your pharmacist for an official PBS refund receipt which is different to the sales docket. Complete and submit a Patient claim for refund form. The refund you get may not cover the full amount you paid for your medicine.

Going overseas

There are rules about using your concession and health care card outside of Australia.

Read more about payments while you are outside Australia.

Concession card features

Your concession card will display your:

  • Customer Reference Number (CRN)
  • address - usually your home address
  • card start date - the date your concession entitlement begins
  • expiry date - the date the concession card expires
  • name - your first name and family name will be displayed on the card

Depending on the type of card you have, your partner’s first name and family name is displayed. For any dependent children, only their first name will be shown.

As there are different types of concession cards available, the names that appear on the cards may differ from one card to another as follows:

Concession card Cardholder Partner Dependent children Period of Issue
Pensioner Concession Card yes yes yes

2 years

reissued on cardholder’s birthday every 2 years if eligible

Most Health Care Cards yes yes yes

1 year

reissued automatically if eligible

Mobility Allowance Health Care Card yes    

1 year

reissued automatically if eligible

Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card yes    

1 year

must reclaim each year

Carer Allowance Health Care Card     yes

1 year

reissued automatically if eligible

Foster Child Health Care Card     yes

1 year

reissued automatically if eligible

Low Income Health Care Card yes yes yes

1 year

must renew each year

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card yes    

1 year

reissued each year in August if eligible

You can contact us to have your:

  • partner's name removed from your card
  • address removed from your card

However, by making these changes, some providers may not give concessions for those not listed on the card or for concessions provided to residents of certain areas or linked a person's residential address.

Replacement cards

Lost or stolen cards can be replaced. A replacement card will be sent to you by mail. You can request a replacement card using your online account, self service, by calling us or by visiting your nearest service centre.

If you need your card urgently, you can get a temporary concession card at any service centre.

Digital concession cards

A digital concession card is available for eligible customers using the Digital Wallet on their Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

There may be circumstances where you should continue to use your physical card, but a digital concession card allows you to present your concession card using your smart device.

Read more about the Digital Wallet and Express Plus Centrelink mobile apps.

Other government and community support services

There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful. You can use Service Finder to locate assistance in your local area.

moneysmart logoMoneySmart has information to help you make the most of your money. Read the Budget planner section on the MoneySmart website.

Page last updated: 4 May 2016