Better Health Channel


Medicare is a national scheme that provides free or subsidised healthcare for Australians. This includes visits to doctors, specialists, optometrists and in some cases other health professionals such as dentists.

Medicare provides free treatment and accommodation for public patients in public hospitals and may also cover part of the fees for private patients in public or private hospitals.

Services provided

  • Full or partial payment for many healthcare services for Australian citizens and permanent residents
  • Payment of fees based on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
  • Additional fee support to those who incur higher-than-usual medical costs via the Medicare Safety NetExternal Link


You are eligible for Medicare if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen living in Australia, are a permanent resident, have applied for a permanent visa that is not a parent visa, have permission to work in Australia, or can prove your relationship to an Australian citizen or are covered by a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with another country.

How to access

Go to Services AustraliaExternal Link to find a Medicare service centre near you.

The National Relay Service (NRS)External Link is available to help callers who are d/Deaf, or find it hard to hear or speak to hearing people on the phone.

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)External Link is available (24 hours, 7 days) for callers who speak other languages. Call 131 450.


Medicare rebates vary depending on the type of healthcare received. Contact Medicare if you would like more information about cost.


  • Some clinics offer electronic claiming either through the clinic’s EFTPOS terminal using your EFTPOS card, or through a secure internet connection. Your Medicare benefit will usually be paid into your nominated bank account by the next working day.
  • If the clinic does not offer electronic claiming, you can claim your Medicare rebate by post, phone, online, by visiting a Medicare branch or by using the Express Plus Medicare app.


  • If you see a doctor often, or have tests regularly, your medical costs could be high. Visiting a doctor or having tests may cost you less once you reach the Medicare Safety Net threshold.
  • Individuals don’t need to register for the Medicare Safety Net, but couples and families do.
  • If you are overseas, Medicare may cover some medical treatments.