Going to the doctor
To bulk bill (pay no fees) a doctor’s appointment, you need to provide your Medicare number. If you want to be able to do this without your parents or guardians knowing, you can:
- At age 15 and over, apply for your own Medicare card by completing an application to transfer from one Medicare card to another form and then submitting at a service centre with either your: birth certificate, current driver’s licence, current passport, current Australian school or educational photo ID, or proof of age card.
- Or when at the doctors, you can ask the receptionist to use HPOS to search for your Medicare details if you do not have your Medicare card number available. Please note, if your Medicare card number cannot be found on the HPOS, this does not mean you are not enrolled or not eligible for Medicare. The receptionist can contact the enquiries line where there are more access fields to help identify you.
If you are an International student and not eligible for a Medicare card, it is a condition of your student visa that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). The OSHC will give you access to out of hospital and in hospital medical services to help you maintain your health. Check out OSHC Allianz Global Assistance for more information.
Talking to your doctor
Some topics are hard to bring up with your doctor but believe it or not, talking about sexual and reproductive health does get easier! However, if you really cannot bring yourself to talk about your sexual and reproductive health with your doctor than it’s highly recommended that you seek out your local sexual health clinic. The staff there are specialists and enthusiastic about the field, as well as highly trained and sensitive in talking about these topics with people from all ages and backgrounds, including young people.
Your comfort and safety are important. So if you feel the discussion is more uncomfortable than it should be, or that the doctor is doing or saying things that seem unprofessional, you have the right to ask them to stop and to arrange to see another doctor.
What is a sexual health clinic?
A government-funded clinic that provide you with the chance to talk to professionals other than your doctor about your sexual and reproductive health. They are often bulk billing or offer concession rates for young people.
In Canberra, you can access:
- Canberra Sexual Health Centre in Garran
- Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT) in Civic
- Meridian in Civic (offered by Canberra Sexual Health Centre)
Doctors and nurses at the sexual health clinics are all well-trained and spend their daily work talking about sex. There’s pretty much nothing they haven’t seen before so don’t be embarrassed to ask anything! They’re great with young people and the more you ask the better informed you can be about your health.