What Is The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)?

7 February 2017
The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a key part of the public and private health systems, but what does it mean for health insurance?

What is Medicare?

Medicare is the Australian public health system by which the government provides free or subsidised healthcare services to Australian residents. Medicare pays a certain amount for Australian residents to receive medical treatments such as visiting the doctor or specialist, staying in hospital, and certain prescription medications.

You can be treated at a free or subsidised price for certain medical services if you have a Medicare card. For more information on Medicare, click here.

What is the Medicare Benefits Schedule?

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a list of the Medicare services that are subsidised by the Australian Government. It is run as part of the wider Medicare Benefits Scheme that is managed by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).

Generally, any medical services listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) should also be covered by private health insurance under Hospital Cover. Treatments not on the MBS list include elective cosmetic surgery and surgeries or treatments that are not deemed necessary to maintain your health. Find out more about what private health insurance covers here.



According to the Health Insurance Act 1973, some Medicare benefits are payable for professional services. In order to qualify for the MBS, medical services must prove they are clinically relevant and accepted in the medical profession as necessary for the appropriate treatment of a patient. All applications for funding under the MBS are considered by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC).

What is the MSAC?

The Medical Services Advisory Committee was created to advise the Australian Minister for Health and Ageing on the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of medical technologies and procedures. They inform the Australian government about the public funding of these services, and make amendments to existing MBS items.

Applying for an MSAC grant

If you are in the medical profession or industry and are seeking an opportunity to be funded under the Australian Government and the MBS, you’re encouraged to make an application on the MSAC website here. The MSAC will then assess your suitability via a consultation session and interview. For more information on the application process, click here.

Can I still apply for health insurance if I have Medicare?

Yes, all permanent Australian residents are covered by Medicare but they can still apply for health insurance. The benefit of private health insurance is that there are a number of private treatments that are not covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Without health insurance, such treatments could be quite expensive and you would have to pay for them on your own.

It’s always a good idea to do your research in order to find out what insurance is best for you. Fortunately, we at Canstar compare more than 800 health insurance policies – so start comparing today!

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