The Australian Local Healthcare Insurance System
The Australian local healthcare system is considered as one of the best in the world thanks to its welfare system “MEDICARE” and its high-quality medical care.
MEDICARE is available to people living permanently in Australia for at least two years. It is funded by the government for the most part and the rest is supported via a contribution of 1.5% directly deducted from salaries (2.5% for big salaries).
This system covers basic medical and hospital expenses and fully reimburses hospitalization fees (only in public facilities). However it does not provide coverage for dental or vision care, medical prostheses, drugs and insured members cannot choose their own doctor.
Many Australians need to take out private healthcare insurance in order to be reimbursed for medical care not covered under the MEDICARE system.
Doctors’ visits in Australia
As a general manner, Australian GPs
see their patients from Monday to Saturday morning.
As part of the MEDICARE system, patients do not have to make cash advances with “bulk bill doctors” thanks to the Medicare card. If they do not offer such service, patients have to pay for the consultation which will then be reimbursed (if the consultation fee is too high, it may not be reimbursed entirely).
Consultation fees range from 40 to 60 AU$ in average.
To be noted: after-hours doctors are available outside usual office hours in order to relieve hospitals’ emergency services.
Specialist doctors in Australia
Patients are referred to specialist doctors by their general practitioner (excluding dentists and ophthalmologists).
Consultation fees range from 100 to 200 AU$ in average.
Being admitted to the hospital in Australia
Australian public hospitals
If you only benefit from Medicare, you are considered a public patient and your expenses are covered at 100% but you cannot choose your own doctor and you depend on the hospital’s schedule to be admitted.
If you benefit from Medicare and also have private healthcare insurance, you are considered a private patient and can choose your own doctor but your expenses will only be covered up to 75%. The rest will be supported by the private healthcare plan.
Australian private hospitals
are available to people who do not benefit from Medicare.
You can choose your own doctor and surgeon as well as your date of admission.
Both public and private hospitals provide emergency services but they are often filled to capacity. In that case you can call after-hours doctors if you need to be rapidly admitted.
Buying drugs in Australia
Drugs are not covered by Medicare. A drug usually costs 15 to 20 AU$.
Last updated on January 2013