Understanding the Australian health system

Here are some links that will help you find information about the Australian health system:

Tell me about healthcare in Australia

If you are new to Australia, the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship provides a short overview of the Australian health system and the financial assistance that is available: http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/settle-…

Information on services and assistance provided by the Australian Government is available at: http://www.health.gov.au/

For information on State and Territory services, visit

What is Medicare and how does it work?

Medicare provides financial assistance from the Australian Government to help Australians access free or lower-cost medical, optical and hospital care. This allows you, where you are eligible, to claim benefits and payments for healthcare services. Find out more about Medicare benefits and how to get them at Medicare Australia.

How does Private Health Insurance work?

Consumers can purchase private health insurance to cover some of the costs of healthcare as a private patient. There are two types of private health insurance cover available: hospital and general (also called ‘ancillary’ or ‘extras’ covering things like physiotherapy and dental services). Visit Privatehealth.gov.au to learn more about private health insurance and to compare the policies that are available.

Where would I go to find out information about hospitals?

MyHospitals is an Australian Government website that provides  information on hospitals throughout Australia.  It includes information about the hospital including the services offered and waiting times.

I have heard about health reform, what does it mean?

The Commonwealth and State Governments are working in partnership under the National Health Reform Agreement to improve healthcare for all Australians.
Previously, the health system was paid for and managed by individual States and Territories with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government. The Commonwealth Government will contribute more funding to help hospitals respond better to the needs of local communities. The Commonwealth Government will also contribute more funding to primary care. Primary care is the healthcare people get when they first seek medical help; this can be in the form of GP services, pharmacy services and other first steps of care not provided through a hospital. Primary care is important in the prevention of poor health and the management of long-term health problems.
Other programs are also being introduced to improve healthcare.  These include GP Superclinics, After-Hours GP Helpline and Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records.  You can learn more about health reform and these initiatives at health.gov.au

What is eHealth and a Personally Controlled eHealth Record?

eHealth is the use of technology to improve healthcare.  It is being used to improve communication between our health professionals and to offer you new services such as telehealth which will bring specialist video consultations to Australians living outside of major cities.
Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records are being introduced so that Australians can choose to have a secure online summary of their healthcare information that is easy to access and share with their healthcare team.  You will be able to choose what information is added to your electronic health record by your doctor and other health professionals and which health professionals are allowed to access it.  Learn more about eHealth and the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record at eHealth.gov.au

Information and links provided on OurHealth are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.