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March 2015

Healthcare In Australia

Published: Friday 13 March 2015


Medicare is the universal healthcare system in Australia, funded by an income tax surcharge – all Australian taxpayers earning over a certain threshold pay a Medicare charge. Benefits of Medicare are based on a list of standard fees, also known as “Schedule fees”. This means you may pay $50 for a doctor consultation and your Medicare rebate for this would be $36.30, leaving you with a gap of $13.70 to pay. However, for most general practice consultations Medicare will rebate you 100% of the Schedule fee. If you are a low income earner, you may be eligible for a healthcare card, which will entitle you to discounted prescriptions. As Australia is a high income country, there is certainly a good status of health as an overall population and the standard of health care given is very good. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Australia is ranked at number 32 in the World Health Systems ranking and Australians can expect to live to an average age of 74 years old.

Private Healthcare

The largest health fund (private health organisation) is the government-owned Medibank. Although Medibank is owned by the government, it operates as a business paying tax and dividends under the same regulations as other private health funds. Medibank was primarily created to put pressure on other private health funds, in order for them to keep their costs as a reasonable level. If you take our private health insurance then you can choose the doctor who you want to treat you in hospital and you can go to a private hospital/be treated as a private patient in a public hospital. According to resources, Australians are actually encouraged by the Government to take out private health insurance by way of the Medicare levy surcharge mentioned above. This is a very different to Canada, for example, who are very supportive of their public healthcare system and tend to avoid getting private health insurance. Click here to find out more about private health insurance and the types that are available to you.