Rebates and vouchers
Have you checked the Savings Finder? You may be eligible for NSW Government rebates and vouchers to help reduce your health costs, such as free glasses and optical aids.
Ways to save
Understand the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).The PBS is a government scheme available to all Australian residents who hold a current Medicare card. It subsidises the cost of most medicines prescribed by your doctor or dentist. You make a co-payment of up to $30 towards the cost of each medicine listed on the PBS. Pharmacists may also give a discount to patients for eligible medicines.
Register for the Medicare Safety Net. You do not need to register for the Medicare Safety Net if you’re an individual with no dependants. If you’re part of a family or couple, you can register as a family to combine your costs. You’re more likely to reach the safety net threshold sooner and start getting more money back for some Medicare services. Remember: private scripts (medicines not covered by the PBS) do not contribute to your safety net. But you might get a rebate from your private health insurer. Make sure you check first.
Review your private health insurance. Can you reduce the price of your policy by paying a higher excess or switching to another provider? Compare policies to ensure you're getting the best deal that's right for you.
Buy combination medicines. Ask your GP if you can combine medicines into a single tablet or product. For example, many asthma medicines combine long-term preventers and quick-relief inhalants into a single dose. This means you pay one co-payment for these medicines instead of 2 – which saves you money.
Buy generic medicines. Generic medicines contain the same active ingredients as brand-name medicines and are often more affordable. Learn more about generic medicines.
Shop around. Discount chemists cut costs by dealing directly with manufacturers, so they can sell it cheaper than others. But beware of online prescription scams and fake pharmacy ads.
Government health schemes
Our health system is one of the best in the world. It is jointly funded by all levels of Australian government – federal, state and territory, and local. Learn more about how government health programs (such as safety nets) can save you money.
Learn more about the scheme and use the ‘PBS Medicine Search’ to find medicines that are subsidised by the Australian Government. Can’t find your prescription on the list? Consider talking to your GP about switching to a PBS-covered medicine.
You can get cheaper medicine if you spend a certain amount on PBS medicine in a calendar year and reach the PBS safety net.
Medicare is Australia's universal health care system. It helps all Australians, and some visitors, with the cost of accessing a range of health services.
Medicare Safety Nets can help to lower your out-of-pocket medical costs for non-hospital services. Find out how safety nets work and how you can register as a family or couple.
You can check your Safety Net threshold amount at any time through a myGov account linked to Medicare. If you do not have a myGov or Medicare online account, you’ll need to create them.
Going paperless is a convenient way to manage your healthcare. The Australian Government’s free digital health services include electronic prescriptions, telehealth consults and My Health Record.
If you need some help around the house or think it’s time to investigate aged care homes, My Aged Care is your starting point to access government-funded aged care services.
If you care for someone with disability who is unwell or older, you don't have to do it alone. Carer Gateway offers free services and support, including access to emergency respite to take over the care of your loved one if you become sick or injured.
Services you may be eligible for
Check if you’re eligible for NSW Government health care support services and concessions – including basic dental care for kids under 18.
Learn more about what Medicare and private health insurance cover, and how to get discounted medication and medical equipment rebates if you have a chronic illness.
Learn more about NSW Government health care concessions and support services for families, including the foster child health care card and child dental benefits scheme.
You may be able to get a free medical appointment by going to a health professional who bulk bills. Not all health professionals do this. Learn what bulk billing is, and how to access it.
Concession and health care cards can get you cheaper health services and medicines. Learn more about the types of cards that are available.
All children (under 18 years of age) who are NSW residents are eligible for public dental services in NSW.
The flu is highly contagious and can cause serious illness. An annual flu shot will give you the best protection. Learn more about how the flu spreads and find out if you’re eligible for a free jab under the National Immunisation Program.
Read the latest information and advice about COVID-19 booster doses, book a vaccination and find out what to do if you don't have a Medicare card.
More cost-cutting ideas
- Find out how to get the most out of your doctor's appointment.
Review your private health insurance
It makes financial sense to save on taxes by taking out private hospital cover. It can also help if you want to avoid waiting times for elective treatment or choose your own specialist or hospital. But you may be able to get a cheaper policy with another insurer – or choose not to have one if you are experiencing financial hardship.
Want to review your private health cover? The Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website is a good place to start. It explains how health insurance works and allows you to compare and find policies that match your needs.
The Medicare levy surcharge can cost you more at tax time. Find out when you must pay it and how much you will pay if you do not have the right level of private patient hospital cover.
If money is tight, Choice can help you decide if paying for private health insurance is the best idea for you.
More cost-cutting ideas
- Extras insurance helps pay for out-of-hospital costs and other services not covered by Medicare (like dental, physiotherapy and optometry). But you do not need to buy extras cover from the same insurer as your hospital cover. You can even buy this sort of cover on its own.
- Do an online search on how to avoid out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
Mental health support
Feeling financially safe has a big impact on your mental health. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, there is free help available.
Whether you are looking for mental health support for yourself, someone you care about, or just trying to improve your wellbeing - Head to Health is a good place to start.
If you need mental health support, there is free help available – from 24/7 crisis lines and counselling to trained health professionals who can help you any time of the day or night.
Tools and calculators
Use these tools to estimate and compare health costs, check symptoms or find services nearby.
Worried about your health? Select a symptom, answer a few questions and get free, government-approved health information and advice.
Use the Health Direct service finder to locate a GP, pharmacist or other health service near you. Then use the ‘filter’ button and select ‘bulk billing only (no fees)’ to sort the results.
Use this Australian Government tool to find and understand costs for medical services in Australia.
Choice compares thousands of health insurance policies and gap coverage from 46 insurers. There is a fee for this service, but unlike other comparison sites, Choice does not earn a commission.
If you want some support for your mental health and wellbeing, but aren't exactly sure what that looks like, the Head to Health quiz can be a good starting point.