The function and purpose of every Government are to ensure that its citizens are protected and provided with all the necessities for a prosperous life. In this accord, a citizen’s physical and healthy life is of the utmost importance to its Government. That is why the Government of Australia has put in place a Medicare program that operates by issuing Medicare cards.
What is a Medicare card?
The Australian Government offers a medical identification card to all Australian citizens and permanent residents. This card provides certain advantages to its holder, mainly in the medical field. A Medicare card is typically the same size as a National Identification Card and is green in colour.
By now, you must be wondering how to apply for a medicare card. A Medicare cardholder has the advantage of getting rebates on certain medical payments such as consultations fees. And the expenses on certain medications. We have got you covered. But before that, let us talk about if you are eligible for a Medicare card or not.
Who can apply for a medicare card?
To be eligible to apply for a Medicare card in Australia, you must be one of the following;
- You must be an Australian citizen
- Or a New Zealand citizen
- You must be an Australian permanent resident. In the case where you are not yet a permanent citizen, you must,
- Apply for permanent residency.
If none of these is true for you, you must at least have a temporary resident permit backed up by ministerial order.
Are you visiting Australia?. If yes, you can apply for a Medicare card if you are visiting Australia from a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement Country. These countries are in a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia to cover the necessary medical cost of Australian citizens visiting said countries. Australia is obliged to do the same. Application for a medicare card is also possible if you are a citizen or permanent resident of one of the following;
- Lord Howe Island
- Cocos (Keeling) Island
- Norfolk Island
- Christmas Island
It is safe to assume by now that you must be sure of whether or not you are eligible for a Medicare card. Now, let us talk about what you need to apply for a medicare card.
What are the application requirements for a Medicard?
Here, we will discuss all the documents you need to successfully apply for a medicare card. The records you require will depend on your specific criteria of qualification. These criteria for application include using as:
- An Australian citizen
To apply for a Medicare card as an Australian citizen, you must be an Australian who lives in Australia, an Australian who lives overseas, or an indigenous Australian. For an Australian living in Australia, you need;
- An Australian passport
- And an Australian birth certificate.
- Australian living overseas
For an Australian living overseas, you need;
- Current passport
- At least two documents proving you reside in Australia
- For Indigenous Australian citizens, you need to provide;
- Any local identification document
- New Zealand Citizen
For New Zealand citizens, what is required of you is;
- A New Zealand passport. One is needed for each person you wish to register.
- And two documents per person ( or family) prove that you live in Australia. These documents may include an employment letter and proof of any sold property.
- Permanent residents
As a permanent Australian resident applying for a medicare card, you have to provide the following;
- A current Australian passport or an Immicard
- Proof of your permanent residency. You can get it from the Department of Home Affairs.
- When applying for permanent residency
Are you applying for a permanent residency permit?. If yes, then you are eligible for a medicare card provided you meet the following requirements;
- A current passport or an Immicard
- A legal visa
- You also need proof that you have applied for a permanent residence permit, which can be obtained from the Department of Home Affairs.
- Temporal resident
As a temporary resident, you are eligible for a medicare card if your temporary permit is backed up by one or more of the following ministerial orders;
- The Witness Protection program
- Fulbright Scholars
- De facto partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents
- Support for victims of people trafficking program
- Temporary Protection Visa
You can use all the information provided above to ascertain whether or not you are eligible to apply for an Australian Medicare card. You can also use this information to determine the exact documents you need. Once you have done this, you can proceed to the application process correctly.
The application process
Now that we know who can apply and the documents required are out of the way, let us get down to the real deal.
How to apply for an Australian Medicare card
This process is quite simple and straight to the point. All you need to do is apply the following steps;
- First, you need to access the medicare enrollment form on their official website using a browser.
- The next step is to fill out all required information and submit it.
- Next, you must submit all required supporting documents to the Medicare Enrolment Services via mail or email.
- Make sure you sign on your documents before submitting them.
How to use a Medicare card
As a Medicare cardholder, you have access to certain medical benefits like low or, in some cases, no consultation fees. You can as well get a rebate on the payment of certain medications. It is important to note that Medicare services can only be provided to Medicare cardholders by professionals with a Medicare Provider Card. In order words, any medical professional or institute that has not been authorised with a Medicare Provider Card cannot offer Medicare services.
Let’s wrap up
We trust you are up to date on the importance and advantages of getting a medicare card. The information in this article provides you with the most accurate data you need to get a medicare card. We also aim at clearing out any doubts you have about applying for a medicare card using the FAQ section of this article. We advise you to pay close attention to all the available information. You will do well to observe this information and use them when before and while applying for a medicare card.
- Is my medicare number the same as my social security number?
The answer is no. Your Medicare number and your Social security number are different. And these two numbers are unique to you alone.
- How long does it take to get my medicare card?
Typically, this process takes 3 to 4 weeks to complete. Once your application has been verified, your Medicare card will be sent to you via mail using the information you provided on your enrollment form.
- Is a Medicare card renewable?
A Medicare card renews automatically annually. A few exceptions may arise, in which case you may need to contact the Medicare centre for assistance. But except otherwise, Medicare card renewal is automatic.
- Will I receive a new card once renewal is due?
The answer is yes. You will be mailed a new Medi card upon renewal, but you are advised to keep the old safe until then.
- Do I need to keep my old medicare card and number?
Once you receive a new Medi card, you do not need your old Medicare card per se. Unless your old card has specific privilege Plans such as a HOM or a PPO, you can use your old card if this is the case. But remember to always carry your new card along. It may be required.
- Can I give my old Medicare card away?
Your Medicare card and its number are unique to you. As such, giving it away is not a brilliant idea.