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Public Healthcare Access – Asylum seeker Healthcare and Services

Guidelines

Healthcare access for people seeking asylum who do not have a Medicare Card

People seeking asylum in Australia who are not eligible for a Medicare Card can access public hospitals in Queensland free of charge.

Public health services

The Fees and Charges for Health Care Services Directive states that Hospital and Health Services (HHS) must ensure there are no costs directly charged to Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers for public health services.

HHSs should seek reimbursement from other sources before writing off the fees:

  • When an asylum seeker who lives in community or facility-based detention accesses public hospital services, fees can be directed to the Department Home Affairs via its health service provider, International Health and Medical Services.
  • Some asylum seekers may qualify to have their healthcare costs covered through the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS). Clients should provide a Letter of Supply from their SRSS service provider. HHSs can also contact the person’s SRSS provider if they have their consent.

Public health services include (but are not limited to) medical services, surgery, allied health services, mental health services, pathology, radiology, cardiology and maternity. GP services in some rural and regional areas are covered, where they are employed through or by an HHS.

Public health services do not include:

  • Pharmaceuticals – pharmaceuticals are included under the Australian Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme and governed under the National Health Act 1953 (see information on pharmaceuticals below).
  • Dental fees – (see information on Oral Health services below)
  • GP services – GP services are not normally provided by HHSs except in some rural and regional areas. In those areas the Fees and Charges for Health Care Services Directive applies. The Directive does not apply to providers who are not employed through or by an HHS, such as private providers.
  • Private practice clinic consultations – private consultations are not a public health service under the Fees and Charges for Health Care Services Directive.

Oral Health services

The Oral Health Services Eligibility – Queensland Health Guideline states that asylum seekers are entitled to a priority general course of public oral health services that are delivered through Hospital and Health Services in Queensland.

As proof of eligibility, a referral form is required from an authorised support agency or community health clinic.

Pharmaceuticals

Fees for pharmaceuticals should not be charged to people seeking asylum if they do not have a Medicare card under the Consistent patient charges for pharmaceuticals in Queensland Health institutions.

Instead, costs should be recovered from International Health and Medical Services and SRSS Providers (Red Cross, Access Community Services and Multicultural Australia).

Further information: Refugee and asylum seeker health services

Other Practical guides, handbooks and other resources

Healthcare access factsheets for people seeking asylum who do not have a Medicare Card

People seeking asylum in Australia who are not eligible for a Medicare Card can access public hospitals in Queensland free of charge. Please refer to Queensland Health Fees for Health Care Services Health Directive (QH-HSD-045:2016).

Public Healthcare Access – Translated Asylum Seeker Factsheets

Last updated: 27 January 2021