Problems with the Medicare System Affect Health care in Newcastle

Health care in Newcastle is available in both public and private settings. Public hospitals and clinics are subsidised by the Medicare system, and all Australian citizens have access. There may be co-payments for services outside of a public hospital setting, but the bulk of all costs are paid for by the Medicare system. The Medicare system provides basic health coverage to every person, but there are many limitations. Dental health care in Newcastle is predominantly excluded, as bulk billing dental clinics are scarce and lengthy waiting periods often mean service is not offered for months or even years at a time. Many private hospitals and private doctors offer a standard of care that is not available in a public setting. Medicare will pay a percentage of private health care services according to the benefits schedule.

The difficulty in obtaining quick and quality health care through the Medicare system contributes to the high number of people that choose to maintain private insurance. 43% of the current population pay for private health care. There are many benefits to having private insurance, not the least of which is access to elective health care options.

The government provides financial assistance in providing a Government rebate which can be claimed towards the cost of Private Health Insurance. Currently, the government offers a rebate of up to 38.72% on health care premiums. This has helped to make private health care a cost effective option for many individuals, couples and families.