What Are The Different Kinds Of Health Care Concession Cards?

There are several different cards that entitle their holder to a health care concession in Australia. Here’s a quick guide to a few of the more common ones.

Currently there are six different types of concession cards issued by the Commonwealth Government available to eligible Australian residents. They are:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card
  • Foster Child Health Care Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Care Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card

We’ve already covered the Pensioner Concession Card here and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card here, so here’s a quick rundown of the other four health care concession cards.

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Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card

This card is for students who held a Carer Allowance Health Care Card before they turned 16 and entitles the holder to cheaper medicines and discounts from government authorities along with a handful of private organisations.

To be eligible for an Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card you must:

  • Be between 16 and 25 years old
  • Be a full-time student
  • Have held a Carer Allowance Health Care Card on the day before you turned 16
  • Be an Australian resident and live in Australia on the day you apply

Foster Child Health Care Card

This card is for foster carers or those caring for someone else’s child. It is issued in the name of the child(ren) being cared for and entitles them to cheaper medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) along with discounts from government authorities and certain private organisations.

To be eligible for a Foster Child Health Care Card, you must be a foster carer or caring for someone else’s child, however you do not need to be a formal foster carer. This means that anyone, including grandparents or siblings, caring for a child who is not their natural or adopted child, may be eligible for a Foster Child Health Care Card. You must also be an Australian resident and be living in Australia, and your foster child must be living with you for as long as you hold the card.

Health Care Card

Health Care Cards are issued to individuals receiving certain payments from the government and entitle the holder to cheaper medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

You could be sent a Health Care Card if you’re an Australian resident and receive any of the following:

  • Newstart Allowance
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Youth Allowance as a job seeker
  • Partner Allowance
  • Parenting Payment (partnered)
  • Widow Allowance
  • Special Benefit
  • Carer Payment for short-term or irregular care (less than six months)
  • The maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • Mobility Allowance (for those not also receiving a Disability Support Pension)
  • Carer Allowance for a child under 16 (the card is for the child only)
  • Farm Household Allowance

Low Income Health Care Card

The Low Income Health Care Card is for those who satisfy certain income requirements. It entitles the holder and any dependent children they have to:

  • Cheaper medicines on the PBS
  • Bulk-billed doctor’s visits (at certain clinics)
  • A larger refund on medical costs once the Medicare Safety Net is reached

You may also be offered discounts on certain utilities, public transport and motor vehicle registration.

In order to be eligible for a Low Income Health Card, your income must be below the amount specified below for your situation.

Status Weekly income Income in an 8 week period
Single, no children $552.00 $4,416.00
Couple combined, no children $954.00 $7,632.00
Single, one dependent child $954.00 $7,632.00
For each extra child, add $34.00 $272.00

If you’re a student or apprentice who receives Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY, or Austudy, you may also be eligible for a Low Income Health Care Card.

If you’re not eligible for any sort of health care concession card, it might benefit you to look into taking out a health insurance policy so you could be covered for any medical costs you do incur. You can compare health insurance with Canstar.

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