Access to Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can use the Indigenous Access Program to find out about Medicare and medication entitlements. Other arrangements allow Indigenous health services to access Medicare billing for their patients.

Medicare arrangements

For individuals

The Indigenous Access Program provides access to Medicare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The program provides:

For health services

The Minister for Health issued a special direction allowing Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) to access Medicare billing. See our list of ACCHSs with 19(2) and 19(5) directions.

Usually, health services cannot access Medicare benefits when the Australian Government provides other funding for the services. As ACCHSs receive Government funding through the Indigenous Australians' Health Programme (IAHP), they would not normally be eligible to bill Medicare for their services. The Minister allowed access to Medicare billing because:

  • all Australians have a right to access Medicare
  • the cost of providing comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities is substantially higher than for non-Indigenous Australians.

See our list of MBS items for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and other primary health care providers.

Services Australia provides a guide to Medicare for Indigenous health services.

Map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical services

Use this interactive map to find an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Health Service near you.

Medicare liaison officers

Medicare liaison officers undertake cultural training. They work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and health services to:

  • provide information about MBS items available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • provide training to health service staff about Indigenous health care plans
  • increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's enrolments in Medicare
  • ensure correct claiming of Medicare benefits
  • provide support and advice about new Medicare initiatives
  • represent and promote Medicare programs and services at local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander forums and events.

Services Australia have more information about Medicare liaison officers.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme arrangements

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) includes items listed to treat conditions common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. These items are specifically for patients who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

The PBS lists these items to:

  • address the greater burden of disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • provide greater choice in treatment options, particularly for conditions seen almost exclusively in this population.

PBS Closing the Gap co-payment

The Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment Program aims to reduce the cost of PBS medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a chronic disease (or at risk of a chronic disease). Registered patients receive PBS medicines for free (with a Health Care Card) or at a lower price.

Services Australia has more information:

ACCHSs with 19(2) and 19(5) directions

Click on a column heading to sort, or start typing in the search box to find the information you need. Swipe left or right to see more of the table if you're on a mobile device.

State/territory Organisation name

ACT

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

NSW

Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative Limited

NSW

Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service

NSW

Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated

NSW

Awabakal Limited

NSW

Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre

NSW

Bourke Aboriginal Health Service

NSW

Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service

NSW

Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated

NSW

Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated

NSW

Cummeragunja Housing and Development Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service

NSW

Galambila Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated

NSW

Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service Incorporated

NSW

Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Services

NSW

Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Orange Aboriginal Medical Service Incorporated

NSW

Pius X Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation (Waminda)

NSW

Tamworth Aboriginal Health Service

NSW

Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service Co-operative Limited

NSW

Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Service

NSW

Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Co-operative Limited

NSW

Walhallow Aboriginal Corporation Incorporated

NSW

Weigelli Centre Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service

NSW

Werin Aboriginal Corporation

NSW

Yerin Aboriginal Health Services Inc (Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre)

NT

Ampilatwatja Health Centre Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Bagot Community Health Centre

NT

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Danila Dilba Health Services

NT

Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Mala’la Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Marthakal Homeland and Resource Centre Association

NT

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Ngaanyatjarra Health Services

NT

Nganampa Health Council Incorporated

NT

Pintupi Homelands Health Service

NT

Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Urapuntja Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

NT

Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Corporation

Qld

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Limited

Qld

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Mackay Limited

Qld

Apunipima Cape York Health Council Limited

Qld

Bidgerdii Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service

Qld

Carbal Medical Services

Qld

Charleville and Western Areas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Limited

Qld

Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Service

Qld

Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health

Qld

Galangoor Duwalami Primary Healthcare Services Limited

Qld

Gindaja Treatment and Healing Indigenous Corporation

Qld

Goolburri Aboriginal  Health Advancement Corporation

Qld

Goondir Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health Service

Qld

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation

Qld

Indigenous Wellbeing Centre Limited

Qld

Institute for Urban Indigenous Health Limited

Qld

Kalwun Health Service

Qld

Kambu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health

Qld

Mamu Health Service Limited

Qld

Mookai Rosie-Bi-Bayan (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation)

Qld

Mount Isa Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Limited (Gidgee Healing)

Qld

Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Primary Health Care Service

Qld

Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation Incorporated

Qld

North Coast Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health

Qld

NPA Family and Community Services Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Qld

Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health Services

Qld

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited

Qld

Yulu-Burri Ba Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health

SA

Yadu Health Aboriginal Corporation

SA

Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service Incorporated

SA

Nunkuwarrin Yunti Incorporated

SA

Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated

SA

Oak Valley (Maralinga) Incorporated

SA

Pangula Mannamurna Incorporated

SA

Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Incorporated

SA

Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated

SA

Tullawon Health Service Incorporated

SA

Umoona Tjutjagku Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

Tas

Flinders Island Aboriginal Association Incorporated

Tas

South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

Tas

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Incorporated

Vic

Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative 

Vic

Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative

Vic

Budja-Budja Aboriginal Cooperative

Vic

Dandenong and District Aborigines Cooperative Ltd -Bunurong Health Services

Vic

Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service Incorporated

Vic

First Peoples Health and Wellbeing

Vic

Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative Limited

Vic

Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative

Vic

Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative

Vic

Kirrae Health Service Incorporated

Vic

Lake Tyers Health and Children’s Services Association

Vic

Mallee District Aboriginal Services Limited

Vic

Moogji Aboriginal Council East Gippsland Incorporated

Vic

Murray Valley Aboriginal Cooperative

Vic

Njernda Aboriginal Corporation

Vic

Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation

Vic

Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Limited

Vic

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Co-operative

Vic

Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative

Vic

Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Bega Garnbirringu Health Services Incorporated

WA

Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service

WA

Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Derby Aboriginal Health Service Council Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service

WA

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council Incorporated

WA

Mawarnkarra Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Ngangganawili Aboriginal Community Controlled Health and Medical Services

WA

Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Paupiyala Tjarutja Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

WA

South-West Aboriginal Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Wirraka Maya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

WA

Yura Yungi Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

Last updated: 
7 October 2021

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