Financial help for health care
If you care for someone who needs health care, you can get financial help through Australian Government programs such as Medicare.
- Health Care Cards
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- Other financial help for health care
- How to get financial help for health care
Medicare is an Australian Government program that gives free or subsidised (cheaper for you) treatment from doctors and other health professionals, and in hospitals.
How to get Medicare support
To get Medicare support, the person you care for will need a current Medicare card. If you care for an adult and they ask or need you to handle their Medicare matters, they can make you their Medicare representative.
You may be able to get more help from Medicare if the person you care for has high medical costs. The Medicare Safety Net covers extra visits to the doctor and services such as radiotherapy, scans and blood tests. If they are an adult, the person you care for should be automatically registered for the safety net. If you care for a dependent child or partner, you should register your family for the safety net.
How to pay using Medicare
When the person you care for visits a doctor, you will need their Medicare card. There are 2 ways of paying, depending on the doctor you visit:
- if the doctor bulk bills – this means that Medicare pays the full cost and you don’t have to pay anything
- if the doctor doesn’t bulk bill – you pay the fee up front, then claim money from Medicare. If there is a difference between how much Medicare pays and how much the doctor charges, you pay the difference or ‘gap’. You can claim money from Medicare at your doctor’s office or online
Health Care Cards
The Health Care Card allows you to get cheaper medicines and some discounts. You will automatically get a Health Care Card if you get some sorts of payments (for example, a Carer Payment or Carer Allowance).
If you have been a carer in the past, you may be able to get an Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card. This allows you to pay less for medicines and has other concessions. It is for people who are aged between 16 and 25 years, are full-time students and were receiving a Carer Allowance Health Care Card when they turned 16.
If you are a veteran, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides DVA Health Cards to eligible veterans and their families.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme gives subsidised (cheaper for you) medicines to people who have a Medicare card.
If you are getting a prescription filled for the person you care for, you will need their Medicare card and any concession cards (for example, their Health Care Card).
If you spend a lot on medicines, you may be able to get your medicines cheaper or free through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net. You can talk with your pharmacist about how to track the cost of all your medicines and get a PBS Safety Net card.
Other financial help for health care
You may be able to get other financial help for some health care. These are payments to help with the cost of:
- running essential medical equipment at home, such as a dialysis machine or an oxygen concentrator
- continence products if the person you care for has permanent and severe incontinence
How to get financial help for health care
If you need to get a Medicare card for the person you care for
Download the application form on the Australian Government Department of Human Services website and follow the instructions
If you need to find out how to claim a Medicare benefit
Visit the Department of Human Services website
If you want to find out more about Medicare or what financial help you can get
If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person and want to find out more about Medicare or what financial help you could get
If you want to get a Health Care Card
You don’t have to do anything, you will be sent one if you are receiving a relevant payment
If you want to get an Ex-Carer Allowance Heath Care Card
If you are a veteran and want to get a DVA Health Card
Contact your local DVA office
If you spend a lot on medicines and want financial help
Visit the Department of Human Services Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Safety Net webpage