Peak period processing time frames

The Department of Health (Health) and Services Australia experience higher than usual processing times due to the peak Medicare provider number processing period between December and March. Applicants should allow a minimum of six weeks for their application to be processed and a Medicare provider number issued. Health and Services Australia process all Medicare provider number, section 19AB, and approved program placement applications in strict order of receipt to ensure procedural fairness to all applicants. Status updates are not provided, both organisations are working hard to process all applications as soon as practicable, and your patience is appreciated. More information on Services Australia's current processing times is available on its website. 

From 31 October 2020, we are no longer waiving or streamlining Medicare requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Usual program rules now apply for doctors to meet their sections 19AA  and 19AB conditions. Some program adjustments remain for Approved Medical Deputising Services (AMDSs) on the AMDS Program.

What is 19AA?

Doctors who are permanent residents or citizens of Australia must become vocationally recognised. Doctors become vocationally recognised by getting a Fellowship qualification in a specialty that is recognised in Australia.

Section 19AA of Australia's Health Insurance Act 1973  enforces this rule by law.

Under 19AA, you can’t get a Medicare provider number if you are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, and you are not:

Workforce and training programs to satisfy 19AA

If you do not hold Fellowship, you can provide services covered by Medicare if you are on a section 3GA approved training or workforce program:

The following programs are closed to new applicants. Current participants on these programs satisfy 19AA:

19AA for temporary residents

If you are a temporary resident of Australia, you satisfy 19AA by holding an exemption under section 19AB of the Act.

Help and support for 19AA

Contact us with questions on 19AA and for advice if you registered with the Australian Medical Board before 1 November 1996.

Last updated: 
17 December 2020
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