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 facility.

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 explains Medicare services for Indigenous Australians.

Long stay patient fees

If you need to stay in hospital more than 35 days and are no longer receiving acute care, you'll need to pay a daily fee. This goes toward the cost of your care and is in line with Commonwealth legislation.

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 can be bulk billed to Medicare, or billed directly to your private health insurer
  • your private health insurance will cover hospital fees and charges
  • 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.

Travel costs

If you live in a rural, remote or regional 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 scheme helps with travel and accommodation costs if you need to use specialist medical services that aren't available in your local area.

Find out if you're eligible on the Queensland Government website.

People 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: September 2023