Will I have to pay for my treatment at the Eye and Ear?

The Eye and Ear is a public hospital and all patients who use our services must have a valid Medicare card. Any patient who does not have a Medicare card or is not eligible for Medicare benefits will need to organise payment before receiving treatment.

If you are an overseas visitor who does not qualify as a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement patient or as an asylum seeker/refugee, you will be treated as a Medicare ineligible patient. This means you will be required to pay upfront for all medical and associated hospital services including Emergency Department, outpatient clinic treatment and inpatient admissions received at the Eye and Ear.

As a Medicare ineligible patient it is your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate health insurance cover or the funds to cover the cost of your medical treatment. If you have private health insurance, subject to the terms of your policy, you may be able to claim your hospital expenses from your insurer. This option will require you to sign a health insurance claim form so that the hospital can claim on your behalf. The payment of any shortfall between the amount claimed and paid by your insurer will be your responsibility. Please contact the hospital’s Billing Department for further information.

Visitors from overseas

Reciprocal rights country
Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta* and Italy*.

If you are a resident of one of the above countries you may be able to access limited subsidised health services for urgent medically necessary treatment. This only applies to health issues or injuries which occur while you are visiting Australia and that require treatment before you go home. It does not include planned or elective treatment.

Patients who may be eligible under a RHCA must show a current passport and proof of residency from one of the above countries. Please contact the hospital’s Billing Department to organise a time for the relevant documents to be sighted.

For any enquiries regarding RHCA eligibility contact Medicare on 13 20 11 or visit a Medicare Office.

*Covered for Medicare for a period of six months from the date of arrival in Australia.

Asylum seekers and refugees
If you are an asylum seeker or refugee you are entitled to free medical care except for a co-payment for outpatient medications and medications on discharge.

You will need to produce appropriate documentation from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, or a recognised asylum support agency such as Red Cross or International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), prior to or on commencement of your treatment.

If the required documentation is not produced you will be expected to pay for all medical and associated hospital services, however the fees will be waived once the documents are provided at a later date. Please contact the hospital’s Social Services department on 9929 8234 for further assistance.

What information do I need to provide the hospital?

You will be asked to provide the following:

  • Your passport
  • Proof of residency (for Reciprocal Health Care Agreement patients)
  • Contact information during your stay in Australia
  • Contact information in your home country
  • Relevant health/travel insurance policy details.

Guide to costs for Medicare ineligible patients

Inpatient Services
The Eye and Ear uses the Diagnostic Related Group (DRG) method to calculate charges for Medicare Ineligible patients. For more specific costing information please contact the Billing Department on 9929 8211 for assistance.

Outpatient Services

Service Cost
Emergency Department attendance $458
Outpatient Clinic appointment $293
Allied Health appointment (eg Orthoptists) $293
Interpreter Services – 2 hours $160
Pathology MBS Schedule Fee payable to an external service provider
Medical Imaging MBS Schedule Fee payable to an external service provider
Pharmacy  PBS rates

Please note that all of the above fees are provided as a general guide and are subject to change without notice. Any diagnostic specific charges are payable to the external radiology and pathology service providers.

Where do I pay my account?

Payments can be made in person at the hospital’s Cashiers’ Offices situated at:

Ground Floor, Blue Wing, next to Gisborne Street Entrance
32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne

The Cashier office is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm and accept cash, cheque/money order, credit card and EFTPOS payments.

Payments can also be sent to the following address:

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Billing Department
Locked Bag 8
East Melbourne, VIC, 8002

If your treatment happens outside of business hours payment can be made in the Emergency Department.

What happens if I don’t pay my account?

If you do not pay your account, or agree to a suitable payment plan, it will be forwarded to the hospital’s debt collection agency.  If required, the hospital may also advise the relevant Commonwealth Government authorities of the debt.

Further information

If you have any questions or need assistance, please speak to hospital staff on the day of treatment or contact the following hospital departments during business hours (Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm):

Costing enquiries: (03) 9929 8211
Account enquiries: (03) 9929 8731

Cashier’s Office
Payments: (03) 9929 8210

Pharmacy accounts enquiries: (03) 9929 8202

Social Services (03) 9929 8234

Should you require assistance from Medicare please call 13 20 11.


Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Medicare Ineligible Patients #39
  • Owner: Finance
  • Last Reviewed: April 13, 2021
  • Next Review: April 13, 2024