Australia

Health care in Australia is largely provided by private medical practitioners or by private or government operated hospitals, with costs of medical services paid by private insurance or government agencies, and the balance payable by the patient. Medicare is Australia’s universal health care system, which is the primary health scheme that subsidises most medical costs in Australia for all Australian citizens and permanent residents. A number of other schemes cover the medical costs in specific circumstances, such as for veterans or indigenous Australians, motor vehicle insurance, and workers’ compensation schemes, besides other. Medical costs of visitors to Australia may be covered by travel insurance or under a reciprocal health agreement. In addition, people who are not covered by the Medicare scheme or wish to be covered for out-of-pocket medical or hospital costs can take out voluntary private health insurance, which is also subsidised by the federal government. In addition to Medicare, there is a separate Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme funded by the federal government which considerably subsidises a range of prescription medications.

Medicare is financed by a Medicare levy, which is compulsory and administered through the tax system. The federal Minister for Health, currently Greg Hunt, administers national health policy, and state and territory governments administer elements of health care within their jurisdictions, such as the operation of hospitals. The funding model for health care in Australia has seen political polarisation, with governments being crucial in shaping national health care policy.