Hospital costs

You can choose to be a public or private patient when you go to hospital. As a public patient in a public hospital you don't need to pay.

This includes going to one of our emergency departments, or a community or primary health care facilities.

Are you eligible for a Medicare card?

Find out how to enrol and get a Medicare card on the Services Australia website.

You can get your own Medicare card and number if you’re 15 or older and enrolled in Medicare.

Services Australia website also has information about Medicare services for Indigenous Australians.

Long stay patient fees

If you need to stay in hospital more than 35 days and not subject to an Acute Care Certificate, you'll need to pay a small fee.

The long stay fee is indexed against the aged pension. Fee increases occur in line with pension increases. This is the same for self-funded retirees.

If you need more information, ask your nurse, social worker or ward clerk.

Private patients

You can choose to get treated as a private patient in a public hospital.

If you do:

  • eligible services will be bulk billed to Medicare
  • hospital fees and charges will be covered by your private health insurance
  • we'll discount all or part of your private health insurance policy excess or co-payment up to the cost of the hospital admission.

We can help you make an informed choice about getting health care as a public or private patient.

Visiting specialists

If you're seeing one of our private visiting specialists, you'll have to pay any costs not covered by your insurance before you go to hospital.

Discharge medication

You'll have to pay for your discharge medication. You can get this from the hospital pharmacy or any other pharmacy as long as they have the medication you need.

Private general practices

If you have a Medicare card, most services are provided at low or no cost.  If you have a concession or health care card, all Medicare eligible services will be bulk billed to Medicare.

You may need to pay a small fee for select health screening services, such as medical reports for insurance providers or examinations to obtain flying or commercial licenses.

Please don't hesitate to ask when you contact your local general practice to schedule an appointment.

Travel costs

If you live in a rural and remote area, and have to travel more than 50 km to your local public hospital, you may be eligible for the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme.

The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme helps with travel and accommodation costs for patients who need to use specialist medical services that aren't available in their local area.

You can read more about the subsidy scheme on the Queensland Government website.

If you're visiting Australia

Some of your treatment in Australia might be free if your home country has a reciprocal health care agreement with us.

Find out about reciprocal health care arrangements on the Services Australia website.

People seeking asylum who don't have a Medicare card

If you're seeking asylum in Australia and don't have a Medicare card, you can still access health care in public hospitals.

The Queensland Health website has:

Last updated: February 2023