Medicare services

We provide payments and services that can help when you or someone you care for uses health care services or buys medicines.

From 1 July 2016 all Medicare benefits will be paid directly into your nominated bank account. Read more about Medicare cheques stopping.

About Medicare

Medicare provides access to medical and hospital services for all Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia. We administer Medicare and pay Medicare benefits on behalf of the Department of Health, which is responsible for developing Medicare policy.

Medicare covers:

  • free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists – and in specific circumstances – dentists, and other allied health practitioners
  • free treatment and accommodation for public Medicare patients in a public hospital
  • 75% of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital – this does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines

We pay Medicare benefits in accordance with the legislation governing Medicare and we are not able to pay benefits outside of this legislation.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) lists services that are subsidised by the Australian Government under Medicare. Check if a service is listed under Medicare on the Department of Health MBS Online website.

Read about how to get your Medicare benefit tax statement for your tax return.

Medicare Safety Net

Once you reach a relevant threshold, the Medicare Safety Net provides an additional benefit for eligible services on top of the standard Medicare benefit. This may mean that visits to your doctor or having tests could cost you less for the rest of that calendar year.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Many types of medicine cost much more than the price you pay. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the PBS Safety Net can reduce the cost of medicine. If you have an Australian Government concession card, you will pay even less for your PBS medicines when you show your card.

Private health insurance

If you or your family pay for private health insurance, you may be eligible for the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate on your premiums.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Medicare benefits are not available for treatment you receive overseas. However, the Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with some countries to cover Australians for the cost of essential medical treatment while they are visiting those countries.

These agreements also provide some health services and subsidised medicines to visitors from these countries when they are in Australia.

Enrolling in Medicare

If you aren’t already enrolled in Medicare, you can complete a Medicare enrolment application form and submit the form along with identity and proof of residence documents to your local service centre.

Register your bank account details with Medicare

You need to register your bank account details with us so your Medicare benefits can be paid directly into your nominated bank account.

Register your bank account details:

You need to:

  • have your Medicare card and bank account details – BSB, account number and account name – with you when you register
  • let us know if your details change

Billing and claiming options


Your health professional can choose to bulk bill you for the service you receive, or issue you with a patient account.

Bulk billing is when your health professional accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for a service. You cannot be charged additional costs such as a booking or administration fee, or be charged for consumables such as bandages.

A patient account is when a health professional charges you directly. You can claim benefits from us for this cost.


You can submit claims for anyone listed on your Medicare card. You can also submit a claim for someone who is not listed on your Medicare card if you have paid for the service.

Read more about Medicare claiming options.

Useful Medicare tips

  1. Register your bank account details so we can pay your benefit directly into your account.
  2. Register your family for the Medicare Safety Net.
  3. Let us know if you change your address.
  4. Destroy your old Medicare card when you receive a new one.
  5. Take your Medicare card with you when you visit a doctor or have a prescription filled.


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Page last updated: 21 April 2016