How the MBS works
The MBS is the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
Medicare is Australia’s public healthcare system, and the benefits schedule is a list of thousands of different essential medical procedures and how much they cost.
When an Australian goes to a public hospital and gets “free” healthcare (covered by Medicare), the MBS is generally the amount that the government pays to the hospital or practitioners to perform the treatment.
So if you find a policy that covers you for “100% of the MBS” that means you’re basically covered for hospital procedures in almost the same way as Australians are covered by Medicare.
Some overseas visitor health insurance might only cover 85% of the MBS, while a lot will cover 100%.
The catch is that sometimes a procedure will cost more than 100% of the MBS, and you may have to pay any difference out of pocket.
This difference is usually known as “the gap” between health insurance and actual costs.
Generally, you’ll be able to find out how much a procedure will cost beforehand, and can look for treatments that won’t leave you with major gap expenses.