Medicare services for Indigenous Australians

Find out how to get started with Medicare and how to get help with the cost of medicine.

Getting started with Medicare

To start using Medicare, you need to enrol with us. We’ll send your Medicare card in 6 to 8 weeks. We’ll send it to the address you gave us when you enrolled. If you need your Medicare number earlier to get health care, call our Medicare program.

If you have a baby, enrol them with Medicare as soon as you can.

There are 2 ways to enrol in Medicare if you’re Indigenous.

If you have documents that confirm who you are

Follow these steps to enrol with your identity documents.

  1. Find 3 of the common documents we use to confirm your identity. This could be your birth certificate, driver’s licence and phone bill.
  2. Print and fill in the Medicare enrolment form. If you need help or can’t print at home you can do this at your local service centre.
  3. Send your form and documents to us by mail or email to Medicare Enrolment Services.

You can also take your documents and form to your agent, access point or service centre. You need to confirm who you are when you change your name, date of birth or gender. Read how to update your details with us.

If you don’t have identity documents

Follow these steps to enrol if you don’t have identity documents.

  1. Print and fill in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicare enrolment and amendment form. You can do this at home or at your local service centre.
  2. Get an approved referee to sign the form. The form explains who a referee can be. For example, a referee can be a school principal or a nurse.
  3. Send your form to us by mail or email to Medicare Enrolment Services.

If you need help

Call our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Line to get help. You’ll talk to someone with cultural training who’s aware of your health needs.

At our agent or access points, you can access all our services.

At our service centres, you can access staff who are culturally aware and who can help you:

  • enrol in Medicare
  • claim your Medicare benefits.

Getting regular health checks

A regular health check can help to identify chronic diseases. A chronic disease is one that lasts for 6 months or longer, like arthritis or asthma. Identifying chronic disease earlier means you can get treatment earlier.

You can ask your doctor or GP for a health check. Find out other ways we can help you get better access to health services through the Indigenous Access Program.

Getting help with the cost of medicine

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) offers reduced cost prescription medicines.

Closing the Gap PBS Co-Payment

You can also talk to your doctor about the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment. It helps you get most PBS medicines for less. If you have a concession or health care card, your medicine may be free.

You need a health provider to decide if you’re eligible and register you. Anyone who can prescribe PBS medicines can check if you’re eligible. So can most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners. Both can also register you.

Make sure you take your prescription to a community or private hospital pharmacy. Public hospital pharmacies can’t dispense medicines under this program.

Identifying as Indigenous

You can choose to tell us you identify as an Indigenous Australian. This helps us improve our health services.

To tell us you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, complete the Medicare Voluntary Indigenous Identifier form.

Page last updated: 1 July 2021