Health care and concession cards enable eligible Australians to access health care services and medicines at a reduced rate.
Health Care Card
The Health Care Card is automatically issued to people receiving a social security allowance or benefit, to those receiving the maximum rate of FTB(A) paid by instalments, to some NDIS recipients, and to those receiving the Carer Allowance for a child with a disability.
Parents who have a child with a disability who do not receive the Carer Allowance may be issued with a Health Care Card subject to less stringent disability related criteria.
Individuals and families with a low income are issued with a low-income Health Care Card if their weekly income does not exceed the set threshold. Income is assessed from the eight weeks before the date a claim for a Health Care Card is submitted. Individuals and families with a low income need to make a claim for a card, and once assessed as eligible, their income can increase by up to 25 per cent above the threshold before the card is cancelled. Applicants for Health Care Cards must live in Australia and meet the residence rules.
Pensioners whose payments were cancelled on 1 January 2017 because of changes to the pension assets test – and who are too young to receive the Age Pension – are eligible for the low-income Health Care Card.
Since 1 January 2019, Centrelink has automatically sent students and apprentices a Health Care Card if they receive or are eligible for ABSTUDY, the Austudy Allowance or Youth Allowance.
The Pensioner Concession Card may entitle eligible recipients to:
• access hearing services;
• access bulk billing (at the doctor’s discretion);
• receive a larger refund for medical costs after they reach the Medicare Safety Net;
• receive a discount on the cost of redirecting mail through Australia Post;
• receive reduced-cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
A dependant child of a Pensioner Concession Card holder may also be able to access some of these benefits.
The Pensioner Concession Card is automatically issued to people receiving a pension (including PP (single)) from Centrelink or DVA.
People aged over 60 who have been receiving the Newstart Allowance, PP (partnered), Sickness Allowance or the Special Benefit for at least nine months are also entitled to the Pensioner Concession Card.
Those who receive the Newstart Allowance, PP (partnered) or Youth Allowance (job seeker) – and who are assessed as having a partial capacity to work, or who are single principal carers of a dependent child – are also eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card.
People whose pension was cancelled on 1 January 2017 because of changes to the pension assets test – and who were sent a non-income tested low-income Health Care Card – regained their entitlement to the Pensioner Concession Card on 9 October 2017.
A person of Age Pension age who does not receive a pension from Centrelink or DVA may be entitled to the Seniors Health Card if their adjusted taxable income per year does not exceed $54 929 for singles, $87 884 for couples, or $109 858 for couples who are separated by illness, respite care or prison. The income threshold increases by $639.60 per child for those who have dependent children in their care.