Your Medicare card

How to get, use and replace your Medicare card.

If you’re concerned your personal information has been exposed through the Medlab, Medibank Private, AHM or Optus data breaches

There are steps you can take to secure your details. Find out more about protecting your personal information after a data breach.

Getting your Medicare card

You get a Medicare card when you enrol in Medicare. When we get your completed enrolment form and supporting documents, we’ll process them. You’ll then get your Medicare card in the mail in 3 to 4 weeks.

We’ll send Medicare cards and other general information to the contact person for everyone listed on the Medicare card. The contact person could be you or someone else listed on the card.

If you’re the only person listed on the Medicare card, you’ll be the contact person for the card.

You can use a digital copy of your Medicare card as soon as you enrol. You’ll need to sign into the Express Plus Medicare mobile app to use it. To use the app, you need a myGov account linked to your Medicare online account. If you don’t have these, set them up then download the app.

You can also add your Medicare card to the myGov app for quick and convenient access. Read more about the app on the myGov website.

You can only be on 2 Medicare cards at the same time. Once you’re 15 years or older you can get your own Medicare card. Read more about getting your Medicare card.

Long names

If your name is long, you might need your own Medicare card.

A name is long if your:

  • last name is more than 18 characters
  • first name is more than 12 characters
  • first name, initial and last name are more than 25 characters in total, including spaces.

If you have a long name and want it to be on your family’s Medicare card, you can shorten it. Your Medicare card will show your shortened name and we’ll keep a record of your full legal name.

Understanding the types of Medicare cards

There are 3 types of Medicare cards that come in the following colours:

  • green, for standard Medicare cards
  • blue, for interim Medicare cards
  • yellow, for Reciprocal Health Care Agreement Medicare cards.

When you’re enrolled in Medicare, we’ll send you one of these cards. The type of card we send you will depend on your personal situation.

Standard Medicare card

Standard green cards are valid for 5 years. We’ll send you a new card before your old one expires.

You don’t have to do anything unless your address has changed. If it has, update your details so we send your card to the right address.

Interim Medicare card

Interim blue cards are valid until the expiry date on the card.

If you’re an applicant for permanent residency and your visa conditions haven’t changed, we’ll send you a new card before your old one expires. If you don’t get a new card, you’ll need to contact Medicare.

You don’t have to do anything unless your address has changed. If it has, update your details so the card gets to you.

If you’re a temporary resident covered by a Ministerial Order, your Medicare card is valid until the expiry date. To continue to access Medicare, you’ll need to meet certain criteria and re-enrol in Medicare.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreement Medicare card

You’ll get a yellow Medicare card if you’re visiting Australia from a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA). Yellow cards are valid until the expiry date on the card. To continue to access Medicare, you’ll need to meet the RHCA criteria for your country and re-enrol in Medicare.

Using your Medicare card

You can use your Medicare card to access any of the following:

  • a range of medical services and prescriptions at a lower cost
  • care as a public patient in a public hospital
  • cheaper medicines at a pharmacy under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Read more about getting health care and Medicare.

It’s easiest if you take your Medicare card or number with you when you go to a doctor or hospital. You may need it when you submit a prescription at a pharmacy.

You can also use the digital copy of your card if you don’t have your Medicare card with you.

When you make a Medicare claim, we need to match the information to the details on your Medicare card. Your card has your name on it. If you have a partner or children, your card may also list their details. If it does, it’s a good idea to get an extra card. You can only get one extra card.

Replacing your Medicare card

If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, you can replace your Medicare card.

If someone listed on your card dies, we can reissue a new card if you ask us to.

We have other resources that can help you when someone close to you dies.

Page last updated: 5 May 2023.
QC 60346

Try our new dark mode

We're testing a darker colour scheme. Try it and let us know what you think.