Home Health Australian Health Care System: An Overview

Australian Health Care System: An Overview

Living in Australia certainly has some advantages, and access to good quality health care is definitely one of them. Australians enjoy one of the best health care systems around the world, which translates to good overall health for a majority of the citizens, as well as long productive lives.

Australia has a highly developed health care system which covers all its citizens as well as other permanent residents. Their Medicare program is one of the best public health insurance plans in the world. They also have private insurers that help in subsidizing costs for medical care.

This article aims to provide you with an in-depth look at the health care system that Australians enjoy, as well as the mechanisms of the system which allow for better overall quality of health for its citizens.

Health in Australia

Australia has one of the highest life expectancies. In 2015, the average life span for Australians is 84.74 for males and 79.7 for females. Australia also has lower than average infant mortality rates at around 2 per 1000 live births.

A large majority of children have also been vaccinated due to the government providing government schedules for national immunization initiatives.

Some of the most common diseases that Australians die from are cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and mental disorders. These, however, are to be expected due to many people reaching old age, which increases the risk of acquiring these diseases.

However, there are challenges to the health care system as well. There is some inequality between health care being provided between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, however, and this results in a large health care gap between the two groups.


Medicare is the backbone of the Australian health care system. It was launched in 1984, and its main purpose is to cover costs for medication, treatment, and other medical services. Those who are eligible for Medicare include:

  • Australian citizens
  • New Zealand citizens
  • Permanent Residents in Australia
  • Citizens from countries with reciprocal health care agreements i.e. Belgium, Norway, UK, Ireland, etc.

Medicare is funded through taxes paid, which are automatically deducted from income. In order to encourage their citizens to get private insurance to further lower health-related costs, a Medical Levy Surcharge must also be paid for those that earn more but do not acquire acceptable health insurance.

Medicare is operated by Services Australia but is being implemented across all levels of government. Aside from health insurance, Medicare is also in charge of care for the aged, funding for medical research, immunization, regulation of medicines and equipment, monitoring the distribution of doctors across the country, and many more.

Around 10% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product is spent to fund health initiatives and programs.


Listed below are some of the programs being run by the Australian government to ensure good health for its citizens.

Medical Benefits Schedule

The Medical Benefits Schedule, or MBS, is a list of all health services that Medicare covers, whether partially or in full. The MBS provides an easy to understand guide for those who would like to make claims. Any costs above the recommended fee included in the MBS may be considered as out of pocket expenses.

In order to lessen the financial burden for those that require consistent treatments within a short amount of time, there is a Medicare Safety Net where patients spend less once a certain amount of out of pocket expenses have been reached.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

PBS is a program that actually predates the establishment of Medicare. Under this program, those eligible can have access to medications at a lower cost. However, pharmacists and the drugs being sold themselves must be approved before they are to be included in the program.

In order to lower costs, PBS also encourages buyers to purchase generic brands. To control this, patients may be required to pay the difference between the price of branded and generic medicines as out of pocket expenses unless certain requirements are met. Like MBS, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme also has safety nets to avoid excessive spending.

National Immunization Program Schedule

The National Immunization Program Schedule aims to prevent the spread of disease through vaccinations. The program started in 1997 and resulted in over 90% coverage for children aged 1 to 5.

Vaccinations included in the program include but are not limited to:

  • Hepatitis
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Diphtheria
  • Human Papillomavirus
  • Pneumococcal

These immunizations start from birth until the person reaches 79 years of age.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The AIHW is responsible for collecting and providing data and statistics relating to the health and wellness of Australians. These data are available to the public but are also usually used by universities, government departments, and research centres for research and other purposes.

Medical Research

The Australian government also funds several private and public research studies to help eradicate disease and improve the wellness and health of Australians. Organizations such as NHMRC and the Department of Health’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) have invested billions for this cause.

Private Insurance

For Australians who want more coverage as well as for those who want to choose their own doctors, private insurance is also available. Private insurance also helps them avoid the long lines which typically awaits those who would like to avail of health services through Medicare.

As a general rule, private health insurance covers more types of treatments, although this may depend on what you are actually buying. Different packages are available, and the coverages offered will depend on how much you are willing to spend and how many extras you would like to be included.


Due to initiatives by the government, a robust public health care system, and private insurances that are willing to shoulder the rest if not all of the cost, Australians have one of the best statuses of health and well-being around.

Of course, there are some challenges and barriers such as an ageing population and an overburdened medical workforce, especially during this pandemic.

Still, the Australian government is doing all that it can to ensure good health of its citizens, which is why being able to avail of health care in Australia is one of the best things for its citizens and residents.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

How Much Do Doctors Make?

The medical profession is one of the most highly regarded professions all over the world. People highly value doctors and their contribution...

How Much Do Surgeons Make?

Doctors are often thought to be one of the highest-paid professionals in Australia. This assumption is not wrong at all. Surgeons, in...

What to Do When Doctors Can’t Diagnose You?

Whenever we feel like something is wrong with our bodies, we often turn to our doctors for help. For the most part,...

Top Medical Universities in the World

Deciding on the career to pursue is both liberating and grueling. However, when you’ve settled with your purpose and choice, it will...

Top Medical Journals

Medicine is a vast area, and there is an enormous number of research and clinical trials carried over worldwide. That said, it...

Top Medical Device Companies in Australia

With the ongoing global health threat across the globe, including the prevalent pre-existing illnesses that have been going over for decades to...

What Do Doctors Do For Broken Ribs

It is irrefutable that each part of our body, internally and externally, comes with a purpose and function. The ribcage is among...

Why Do Doctors Have Bad Handwriting

Whether it’s penning down a message, taking notes, or completing a form, handwriting is an essential part of our daily activities. Hence,...

Controversial Medical Issues

By nature, learning and discovering new things stir up controversies and disagreements. They raise questions and doubts. But more importantly, they lead...

How to Keep a Clinic or Practice Sterile – Tips for Disinfecting, so Clients Won’t Spread Diseases

In reality, keeping a clinic or practice sterile is not an easy task. Maintaining a facility free from all kinds of living...

Accounting for Medical Practices – How to Maintain Your Books

Accounting plays a crucial role in the world of businesses. Accounting for medical practices is as vital as the rest of the...

How to Start a Surgery Practice for Young Doctors

Starting a private surgical practice is exciting, especially for young doctors out there.  Nothing feels more enthralling and challenging as health care...

How to Start Private Consulting for Doctors and Surgeons

Starting a private consulting for doctors and surgeons is exhilarating as they have greater freedom and higher chances of earning more than...

Why is SEO for Medical Practices So Important?

A business will need clients so that they can remain in business. It is a simple fact that applies to all companies,...

Knowing About Privacy Policies for Medical Practices in Australia

Patients of doctors and medical practices have the right to privacy and confidentiality. Medical practices that break rules regarding privacy may be...

Facebook Ads for Medical Practices

There are many ways by which you can now advertise online, and Facebook is a social media platform that trumps out the...

Tips to Use Instagram for Medical Practices

Almost 80 million photos are being posted on Instagram each day. These come from celebrities, influencers, and regular people as well. However,...

Starting a Medical Practice Checklist

So you want to start your own medical practice? Congratulations! Having a private practice can be very rewarding in many ways. However,...

Types of Insurance That You Need to Have for Your Medical Practice

Insurance is a very important thing to have both personally and in business. This is especially true if you have a medical...

How to Develop Content Marketing Materials for Your Medical Practice

Content marketing is the future of online marketing. The trend now is no longer about just plain sales and marketing materials that...

Social Media Marketing for Medical Practices

Social media is a very powerful tool for reaching a very wide audience. It serves many purposes, but it all leads to...

Why Do You Need to Use Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice?

The goal of any business, whether it be a medical practice or otherwise, is to gain profit. To gain profit, aside from...

How to Create a Business Plan for Medical Practice

If you want to create your own medical practice, know that it can be a very difficult process. However, it's only the...

The Relevance of Bookkeeping for Medical Practices

A hospital or medical practice’s main function is to provide quality health care to patients, and everything else is secondary. Being able...

How to Effectively Do Marketing For Medical Practice

We currently live in a world where marketing is king. How you handle your marketing can determine your client share in the...