Children's health care

We cover some or all of your child’s health care costs.

Medicare for children

When you enrol your child in Medicare, they can access the same benefits you do. They can also access our programs for children.

Our children’s programs can help with:

  • dental care costs when you are on certain income support payments
  • costs for cleft lip and cleft palate care
  • getting immunisations.

Read more about what Medicare covers.

Your child can get their own Medicare card if aged 15 or older.

How to enrol your child in Medicare

It’s important to add your new baby to your Medicare card as soon as possible. Once added, we’ll send you an updated card. If you have the Express Plus Medicare mobile app, your digital Medicare card will show your baby’s name straight away.

Read more about how to add a newborn to your Medicare card.

If they’re older than 12 months, we’ll need their birth certificate.

Support for children’s dental treatment

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule covers part or all of the cost of some dental services for children. It covers:

  • examinations
  • x-rays
  • cleaning
  • fissure sealing
  • fillings
  • root canals
  • extractions.

For your child to be eligible:

  • they must be at least 2 years and under 18 years
  • you or the child must be getting certain payments from us.

Getting help with cleft lip and cleft palate treatment

The Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Scheme helps families with the cost of treating cleft lip and cleft palate conditions. A child can get treatment under the scheme if it’s done by any of the following:

  • an orthodontist
  • an oral and maxillofacial surgeon
  • a dentist we recognise.

Ask your health professional if we recognise them and if they can treat your child under the scheme.

Support for childhood immunisations

Children need different vaccines at birth and as they grow, to protect them from disease. We cover the cost of all vaccines in the National Immunisation Program. To find out which ones your child needs, read about immunisation for children on the Department of Health website.

Keep in mind, your child must be immunised to get some family payments from us. Your child must meet immunisation requirements if you get either:

  • Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A
  • Child Care Subsidy.

When your child gets vaccinated, your provider will record it in the Australian Immunisation Register. It’s a national register that records vaccines given to people of all ages in Australia. Access your child’s immunisation history statement using your Medicare online account or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Example

Liz and Pat have one child, Ruby. When Ruby turns 3, they enrol her in child care for the first time. They want to claim the Child Care Subsidy from us to help pay the fees. To get the subsidy, they know Ruby has to meet the immunisation requirements. Liz and Pat sign in to their Medicare online account to check Ruby’s vaccines. They see that Ruby hasn’t had all the vaccines she needs. They talk to their GP to get the vaccinations. Their GP updates the Australian Immunisation Register so they can claim for the Child Care Subsidy.

Support for children with disability

When you’re a carer

If you’re a parent or carer of a child with disability, you may be eligible for the Child Disability Assistance Payment. You must already get Carer Allowance.

You may also be able to get other payments such as:

You can find helpful information about caring for someone on the Carer Gateway website.

When your child gets an early diagnosis and treatment

You may get medical services covered under the Better Start for Children with Disability Scheme. This helps with the early diagnosis and treatment of children with an eligible condition.

If eligible, we may help cover the costs of the following services from health professionals:

  • up to 4 diagnostic or assessment services
  • up to 20 treatment services.

Read more about eligible conditions for the Better Start for Children with Disability Scheme on the Department of Health website.

When your child has a significant or permanent disability

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) helps people with disability reach their goals. It also supports carers and families of people with disability. Read more about the NDIS on their website.

When your child turns 16, they may also be eligible for the Disability Support Pension.

Support for children with autism

Under the Helping Children with Autism program, we can help with the costs of:

  • assessment
  • diagnosis
  • treatment and management plans.

Read more about eligibility for the Helping Children with Autism program on the Department of Health website.

We may help cover the costs of the following services from health professionals such as psychologists and speech pathologists:

  • up to 4 diagnostic or assessment services
  • up to 20 treatment services.

Diagnosis and treatment services can still cost a lot of money. Read more about financial support for children with autism spectrum disorder on the Raising Children Network website. It also explains the state and territory funding arrangements before and after an autism diagnosis.

Support for eye tests and glasses for children

It’s important for your child to have regular eye tests to help identify any eye or vision problems.

We may help cover the costs of your child’s eye tests. Use the find a health service tool on the healthdirect website to find an optometrist near you.

Your optometrist can choose to bulk bill you for your appointment. If they do, we’ll cover the costs and you won’t have to pay. We don’t cover the cost of:

  • glasses
  • contact lenses.

If you have private health insurance, ask your provider if they cover the costs of glasses or contact lenses.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get help from your state or territory government. It’s best to ask your optometrist what help is available.

Page last updated: 20 May 2019

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