Medicare rolls out brand new card to mark 40th birthday

A small change is coming to Medicare cards this year as Australia’s universal health system celebrates a major milestone.

The commemorative design, largely similar to the existing design, will mark Medicare’s 40th anniversary and will be featured on all cards printed until the end of the year.

Health Minister Mark Butler described it as a way to celebrate Medicare belonging to “all Australians”.

“The celebration acknowledges Medicare is the foundation of our health system, ensuring all Australians have equitable access to health care when they need it, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay,” he said.

Anyone who is due for a replacement card will automatically be sent one in the new design when their card expires.

People wanting to get their hands on the special edition of the card can request one or log onto the Medicare Express Plus app where the digital version will update automatically.

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten described the new card as a chance to get “a little piece of history in your wallet”.

“If you’ve been putting off updating who’s on your Medicare card, it’s a great opportunity to do so,” he said.

The card’s layout will remain the same, with a small “40 year anniversary” logo added to the top left corner, and a small tweak to the Medicare logo on the top right of the card.

The background has been simplified, with the watermarked background pared back to cover less than half of the card in a more basic design.

Medicare was introduced on February 1, 1984 to help cover the costs of Australians health care after Labor’s first attempt at a universal health scheme, Medibank, was dismantled by the Fraser government.

Last year, the government took its first steps towards an overhaul of the system to take pressure off hospitals and make primary care more affordable.

Mr Butler said Medicare was an integral part of the healthcare system that must be protected.

“It was a Labor government that built Medicare and it is only a Labor government who will continue to protect and strengthen Medicare,” he said.

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