Health Care Card


The Health Care Card assists benefit recipients, low income earners and selected other customer groups (for example, foster children) with access to cheaper Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription medicines and a lower Extended Medicare Safety Net threshold.


The Health Care Card is automatically issued to people who are not qualified for a Pensioner Concession Card, and are receiving:

  • Newstart Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seeker), Mobility Allowance, Special Benefit, or Parenting Payment (partnered);
  • Carer Allowance (child),
  • Carer Payment (child) on a short-term or episodic basis;
  • Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment, Farm Household Allowance, Family Tax Benefit Part A (maximum rate fortnightly instalments).

In certain circumstances, the Health Care Card can be retained for periods up to 26 weeks after returning to work to assist people make the transition from long-term income support to work.

The Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card is available on application.

  • It is for the direct benefit of a child under 16 years with a disability or severe illness whose parents / carers are receiving Carer Allowance. The card is issued in the child's name.

The foster child Health Care Card is available on application.

  • The card can be claimed by the foster carer on behalf of the child.
  • The card is issued only in the name of the child, to obtain concessions for the child.
  • The card is not means tested.

The former Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card is available on application.

It is for full-time students under 26 years who held a Carer Allowance Health Care Card immediately before turning 16 years of age.

The low-income Health Care Card is available on application.

  • Income test applies to average weekly gross income for the 8 weeks immediately prior to applying for the card.
  • There is no assets test for the low-income HCC.

Certain residence requirements must be met to qualify for any type of Health Care Card.


Health Care Card holders may benefit from:

  • medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at the concessional rate and once they reach the PBS safety net, will usually* be supplied with further PBS prescriptions without charge for the remainder of the calendar year;
  • bulk-billed GP appointments (at the discretion of the doctor);
  • reduced out-of-hospital medical expenses above a concessional threshold of the Extended Medicare Safety Net.

State / territory and local governments and some private providers may offer some additional health, household, transport, education and recreation concessions.

*There are certain instances where this does not apply. Please refer to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme website for more information.

Further information

For further information about the Health Care Card please contact Centrelink on 13 2300 or visit the Health Care Card section of the Department of Human Services website.

Last updated: