Posted on: 13 December 2017
The Australian public health care system can seem complicated to beginners who have never been to a medical health facility before. For example, why would a doctor in a public health facility in Brisbane charge a patient differently, for the same type of diagnosis, than a doctor in Canberra? It is just one questions that a patient might grapple with when trying to understand the machinations of the public health system of the country. Here is what beginners should know about the public health scheme in Australia.
Medicare System -- Australia has a universal medical insurance system known as Medicare for the public health sector, which has been in existence since 1984. In this scheme, Australian residents are entitled to free treatment in a public hospital when they present themselves as public patients. However, for specialized treatment such as dental, optometry, and psychological care, a patient can either be treated for free or at a subsidized rate. Also, there are Medicare rebates for services by allied health professionals including pathologists, dietitians, and physiotherapists.
Bulk-billing System -- Bulk-billing refers to a payment option under the universal medical coverage where the doctor (service provider) is paid part of the scheduled fee for inpatient and outpatient services. The planned costs are not fixed and keep on changing every month. The doctor will bill the government through your Medicare card in the bulk-billing system. The service provider can also opt to charge you directly and let you claim rebates through several avenues such as mail, online, or visiting your nearest Medicare office. However, this service is not available in all public hospitals where health care services are few and far between. The best part about using the bulk-billing system is that a patient is not billed for any unnecessary fees that might prohibit them from receiving medical care. Note that in this form of payment, a service provider is prohibited from charging the patient directly and the government at the same time (also referred to as co-payment).
Health Care Card -- The health care card is issued by the Federal Government to various individuals and entitles them to concessions, including medical services and prescription drugs. To be eligible, you should be getting some form of assistance such as sickness allowance, widow allowance, exclusive benefit, and partner allowance among others. The cards are often valid for one year and will cover the cardholder, partner, and children with certain exceptions. If your source of income is limited, you should consider this option as it will reduce the health burden while helping your dependents get the needed medical care.Share