Medicare services for Indigenous Australians

Find out how to get started with Medicare, how to get help with the cost of medicine, and what's available through our Indigenous Access Program.

Getting started with Medicare

To start using Medicare, you need to enrol with us. We can usually tell you your Medicare number on the same day. This means you can get health care as soon as you enrol.

You can expect to receive your Medicare card in 6 to 8 weeks. We send it to the address you gave when you enrolled.

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. You can do this at your local service centre if you need help or can’t print at home.
  3. Take your documents and form to your agent, access point or service centre.

You also need to confirm who you are when you change your name, date of birth or gender. Read how to update your details with us.

Your card may take up to 6 to 8 weeks to arrive.

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. Take your form to your local agent, access point or service centre or send it to us. The form tells you how you can do this.

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 offers reduced cost prescription medicines. You can get help to buy medicine if you have a chronic disease or are at risk of one.

The Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment helps you get most prescription medicines at a lower price.

Read more about the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment on the PBS website.

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: 20 February 2020