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Who pays for Australian healthcare?

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Who pays for healthcare?
Depending on how you use the healthcare system, funding comes from the government, as well as private health insurers, and sometimes – from you.


Medicare is the government’s scheme to give the public access to health care (paid through your taxes), and it covers:

Treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
75% of the fee on a government list (MBS) for doctors’ services in hospital if you’re a private patient
All (what’s known as ‘bulk billing’) or some of the cost of going to a GP or specialist
Some (but not all) tests and examinations your doctor orders for you
Reduced cost on some prescription medications, if they are on a government list called the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

There is a list of services subsidised by the government. Each has a fee that the government says is appropriate to charge for that service. This list is called the Medicare Benefits Schedule (or MBS). 

Private health insurance

Private health insurance is an optional cover many Australians take out to give them more choice when it comes to their healthcare. You can choose a level of cover to suit your needs.

Private health insurance covers things like:

Hospital treatment: Once you are admitted to hospital, private hospital cover will help pay for the costs of treatment and your stay.
General treatment: Also called ‘Extras’, or 'Ancillary' this depends on your policy but can include dental, optical and physiotherapy treatments, for example.
Ambulance: You could get cover for emergency, and sometimes non-emergency transport and/or treatment. In some states, an ambulance may already be covered or cover can be purchased by a subscription directly from the provider.


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