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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Medicare & the public health system

When you leave the ADF, your healthcare will be looked after by the Australian public healthcare system: Medicare. Medicare provides a wide range of services, health and prevention through to general practice, emergency health services and hospital care, and rehabilitation and palliative care.

General practitioners (GPs) and emergency departments (EDs) act as the main gateways to other health services, including diagnostic tests, specialist consultations, hospital admission and inpatient care.

Health Direct provides more detailed information on GPs, emergency departments, specialist services, public and private hospitals, medicines and prescriptions and other aspects of the public health system.

You can access the Veteran Health Check for a comprehensive health check with a GP. There are two types of Veteran Health Checks you may be eligible for, depending on when you left the ADF.

While Medicare covers most things, you should consider your private health insurance needs before you transition.

The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is levied on Australian taxpayers who do not have an appropriate level of private hospital insurance and who earn above a certain income. All civilians pay the 2.0% Medicare Levy as part of their income tax. A surcharge will also apply if you do not have an appropriate level of private hospital insurance and your household income is above the threshold. This surcharge is designed to encourage individuals to take out private hospital cover, and where possible, to use the private hospital system to reduce demand on the public Medicare system.

As a full time ADF member, you are exempt from the levy but not the surcharge if your family income is at Tier 1 or above and you are a part of a household where the spouse and children are not covered by an appropriate level of Private Hospital Insurance or working & living overseas.

Medicare Levy Surcharge
Type No MLS Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Single <90K 90k - 105k 105K – 140K >140K
Family. <180K 180K – 210K 210K – 280K >280K
All Ages 0% 1% 1.25% 1.5%