Newborns automatically enrolled in Medicare


A digital trial at Queensland’s Gold Coast University Hospital has taken a weight off new parents’ shoulders and automatically enrolled their newborns in Medicare, the Medicare Safety Net and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

There were 786 newborns enrolled during the trial after their parents agreed to allow hospital data to be sent to the Department of Human Services, instead of having to plough through a six-page Medicare enrolment form or a Newborn Child Declaration that must be signed by their doctor or midwife and then lodged at a Government Centrelink or Medicare office.

The trial began in April this year in a partnership between the Federal Government and Queensland Health Department. It links the basic data between the state hospital system and the federal Medicare system to make Medicare enrolment a snap, in an Australian first.

Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the trial built on the government’s commitment to making life easier for people through innovative digital solutions.

“This is about trying to make people’s interaction with government as simple and convenient as possible at every step,” Tudge said. “As a result of this trial, parents are spared from having to fill out a six-page document, getting the right signatures and then having to lodge it with Medicare.

Tudge said the trial slashed the average time taken to enrol a baby from 35 days to six and also cut government processing time in half.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the enrolment trial helped Australians deal with government as efficiently as possible.

“With the mother’s consent, the trial uses hospital admission and birth records to seamlessly enrol newborns onto Medicare and the Medicare Safety Net,” Taylor said. “They are also added to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and parents are issued updated Medicare cards.

The feedback is good so far, with 97 per cent of participating parents saying the process was convenient.

The trial was driven by the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) and the expansion of the digital enrolment service is being considered.

The DTO’s report on the project can be found here.

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