Medicare +

Health Care 101

Ready to ‘adult’ and sort out your healthcare without breaking the bank?

Medicare: Your BFF in Health

If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you’ve got access to Medicare. That means when you head to the GP, just flash your Medicare card -or your parents’ card if you haven’t got your own – to get some financial relief.

A variety of affordable and even free health services are on offer for young Victorians, covering everything from mental health to dental care.

Specialised services are also available for young refugees and individuals with disabilities. If you’re over 15, you can get your own Medicare card.

Here’s the rundown on health services you can tap into:

Seeing a Doc

Wanna see a doctor without emptying your wallet? Look for ones that ‘bulk bill’. That way, Medicare picks up the tab. If your doc’s not into bulk billing, you’ll have to pay some or all of the cost. Don’t sweat; you can claim some of it back.

Pro Tip: Ask about fees and bulk billing when you book your appointment.


Telehealth involves you consulting your healthcare provider remotely when they have determined a physical examination isn’t needed, and you can’t see them in person. Telehealth services can include:

  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • prevention

Hospital Visits

If it’s a public hospital and you’re in as a public patient, Medicare’s got your back. Private hospitals? Nope.

Community Health Services

Need some expert advice without breaking the bank? Victoria’s community health services offer free or affordable health and support services. This includes:

  • Nutrition advice
  • Family counselling
  • Physiotherapy
  • Mental health support
  • Foot care (podiatry)
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech help

Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS)

is a community controlled organisation that was developed and set up to cater for the primary health care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families. They are located in Albury, Wodonga and Wangaratta.

Dental Care

Got dental issues? If you’re 13-17 years old and have a healthcare or pensioner concession card, you’re eligible for free or cheap dental care. Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) has got you covered through various locations, including the Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne. Just visit the DHSV website to find a clinic near you.

Over 17 and/or no health care concession card? You usually have to pay.

However, the Albury Wodonga Health Dental Service provides basic emergency, general and denture services for the following groups:

  • Children and young people:
    • All children aged zero to 12 years
    • Young people aged 13 to 17 years who are healthcare or pensioner concession card holders, or who are dependents of concession card holders.
    • All children and young people in out-of-home care provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), up to 18 years of age (including kinship, foster care and residential care)
    • All people in youth justice custodial care
  • People aged 18 years and over, who are health care or pensioner concession card holders or dependents of concession card holders
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • All refugees and asylum seekers

The Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS) also provides bulkbilled dental services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families. They are located in Albury, Wodonga and Wangaratta.

Mental Health Support

If you’re dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, or even bullying, know that help is available. Talk to your loved ones or consult professionals like your school counsellor or GP. They can refer you to specialists if needed.

headspace is also an excellent resource for mental health concerns, tailored for those aged 12-25. Need more immediate support?

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
  • Suicide Line: 1300 651 251
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800 for under 25s
  • Youth beyondblue: 1300 22 4636

Support for Young Carers and People with Disabilities

If you’re taking care of a family member with a mental illness, Young Carers can offer you support. Dial 1800 242 636 or visit their website for more info.

For those with disabilities, there’s a range of tailored support out there. The Victorian Government’s Disability Intake and Response Service is your go-to place for info on government-funded disability supports, just call 1800 783 783. You can also learn about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which provides individualised support packages.

Private Health Insurance

Private health insurance can help you pay hospital and medical costs not covered by Medicare. In some cases, you can receive treatment sooner by electing to be treated as a private patient.

Types of health insurance

There are three main types of private health insurance. Knowing the difference between each can help you choose the right cover to suit your needs.

Ambulance cover

This is the most basic type of cover. It covers the ride in an ambulance in an emergency (which can be quite costly!). Victorian Health Care Card holders are entitled to free, clinically necessary ambulance transport services. If, however, you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you’d be well advised to subscribe to the Victorian ambulance service.

Hospital cover

Hospital cover can help with some of the costs of staying in hospital. The costs covered will depend on the level of cover you have and range from basic to top level. Check what the inclusions are before signing up.

Extras cover

Extras cover is for out-of-hospital medical treatments. This can include services such as physiotherapy, optical and dental. Generally the more services the policy covers, the more expensive it is.

Want to connect?

We’re here to help. Scroll down.