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Health care and concession cards

There are 6 concession cards that could support the cost of your healthcare in Australia.

What you need to know

  • Australian health care concession cards provide eligible individuals and families with access to cheaper medical services.
  • To be eligible for a concession card, individuals and families must meet certain criteria such as being pensioners, veterans, or having a low income.
  • The concession cards can be used to access discounted medications and medical services, including doctors visits and hospital stays.

Read more on health care and concession cards available in Australia:

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Health Care Card

The Health Care Card is a concession card available to some Australians that can provide access to cheaper medicines and concessions on services such as ambulance, dental and eye care.

Health Care Card eligibility requires you to live in Australia and receive:

  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Austudy
  • Carer Allowance for a child under 16 – the card is for the child in your care only
  • Carer Payment for short-term or irregular care less than six months
  • Family Tax Benefit
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Mobility Allowance if you're not receiving Disability Support Pension
  • Parenting Payment partnered
  • Partner Allowance
  • Special Benefit
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance as a job seeker

One beneficial aspect of the Health Care Card is it requires no application. If you're eligible, you'll receive a card.

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Picture: Pexels and Humanservices.gov.au

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Low Income Health Care Card

Australians earning below varying thresholds are eligible to the Low Income Health Care Card, which provides them with:

  • Access to bulk-billed doctors visits
  • Larger refund once you've hit Medicare Safety Net
  • Discounted medicine under the PBS

Depending on where you live, your state might also offer you discounted power bills, rego and public transport costs.

Below are the thresholds that you'll need to fall below depending on your living situation:

For each extra child, add $34.00 or $272 over an 8-week period.

StatusWeekly incomeIncome in an 8-week period
Single, no children$644$5,152
Couple combined, no children$1,107$8,856
Single, one dependent child$1,107$8,856
Couple combined, 1 child$1,141$9,128

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Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to Australians once they reach pension age, which varies depending on the year you were born:

If your birthdate isEligible at
1 July 1952 to 31 December 195365 years and 6 months
1 January 1954 to 30 June 195566 years
1 July 1955 to 31 December 195666 years and 6 months
From 1 January 195767 years

From 1 July 2017, the pension age was set at 65 years and six months. It now goes up 6 months every 2 years until 1 July 2023.

Just like the Low Income Health Care Card, those with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can access bulk-billed doctors, get increased refunds once they hit the Medicare Safety Net and cheaper medicines under the PBS.

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Pensioners Concession Card

Those with a Pensioners Concession Card can access cheaper medicine under the PBS, bulk bill doctors (depending on your doctor), receive increased refunds once they've met the Medicare Safety Net and get help with hearing services.

To be eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card you must be on:

  • Age Pension
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance
  • Parenting Payment single

You're also eligible if you're over the age of 60 and have been receiving one of the following benefits for nine months or more:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment partnered
  • Partner Allowance
  • Special Benefit
  • Widow Allowance

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Foster Child Health Care Card

If you are a foster carer or are currently looking after someone else's child, you'll be eligible for the Foster Child HealthCare Card, which provides you with access to cheaper medicines through the PBS and some discounts for foster children in your care. These concessions vary from state to state.

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Ex-carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card

The Ex-carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card provides recipients with more affordable medications and some other discounts. It's available to eligible Australians who are full-time students between the ages of 16 and 25 and meet residence rules. The Ex-carer Card – which is not means-tested – is only available if you had a Carer Allowance Health Care Card prior to turning 16.

Where can I find out more about concession cards in my state or territory?

You can read up about concessions where you live on the following sites:

Finder survey: How important are health insurance extras to Australians?

Response
General dental80.69%
Optical63.71%
Major dental and endodontic28.76%
Physiotherapy20.46%
Emergency ambulance services16.6%
Chiropractic and Osteopathy11.58%
Mental health or psychology9.65%
Remedial massage8.3%
Podiatry6.37%
Non-PBS pharmaceuticals5.98%
Health management5.02%
Orthodontic4.83%
Exercise physiology3.09%
Eye therapy3.09%
Health aids and appliances2.12%
Dietary1.74%
Home nursing1.54%
Hearing aids1.35%
Acupuncture0.77%
Blood glucose monitors0.77%
Digital mental health0.77%
Speech therapy0.77%
Chinese herbalism0.58%
Occupational therapy0.58%
Antenatal - Midwife0.39%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1006 Australians, December 2023

What does Medicare cover me for?

Medicare offers free hospital treatment at a public hospital. It also includes some cover for treatment outside a hospital and subsidises some medications, as our guide explains. It helps all Australians, permanent residents and some overseas visitors to access healthcare, but it won't pay for a range of out-of-hospital care services such as the dentist or physio.

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More guides on Finder

  • Full medical checkups

    Learn about 10 free health checks you should get as an adult; some may even save your life.

  • Medicare Safety Net

    What is the Medicare Safety Net, how does it work and what does it mean for your out-of-pocket medical costs? Find out here.

  • What is the MBS? (Medicare Benefits Schedule)

    What is the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and what medical services does it cover? Find out in this comprehensive guide.

  • What is bulk billing?

    What is bulk billing and what medical services can you bulk bill in Australia? Find out here.

  • What does Medicare cover?

    This guide looks at what our public health system actually covers and why you may need to have some level of private health cover as well.

  • What is the PBS?

    This guide looks at how the PBS works, who is eligible and what you’re likely to pay at the prescription counter.

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