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Veterans’ health cards

DVA issues health cards to eligible veterans and former members of Australia's defence force, their widows/widowers and dependants. There are different eligibility requirements for each type of card.

Gold CardSample image of the Gold Card

The Gold Card - ‘DVA Health Card – All Conditions within Australia’ and ‘DVA Health Card – Totally & Permanently Incapacitated’ gives you access to a wide range of public and private health care services, for the treatment, at the department’s expense, of all your health care conditions whether war or service related or not.

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White Card

The White Card - ‘DVA Health Card - Specific Conditions’ gives access to a wide range of public and private health care services for the treatment, at the department’s expense, of your disabilities and conditions accepted as war or service related.

Veterans of the Australian Defence Force may also receive treatment for the following conditions whether service related or not:

  • Cancer (Malignant Neoplasm);Sample image of the White Card
  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis;
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);
  • Depressive Disorder;
  • Anxiety Disorder;
  • Alcohol Use Disorder; and
  • Substance Use Disorder.

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Orange Card

Sample image of the Orange CardThe Orange Card - ‘DVA Health Card – Pharmaceuticals Only’ gives access to subsidised pharmaceuticals and medicines under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS). The Orange Card is issued to Commonwealth and allied veterans and mariners who meet the eligibility criteria.

This card is for PHARMACEUTICALS ONLY and cannot be used for any medical or other health care treatment.

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Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Sample image of the Commonwealth Seniors Health CardThe Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to eligible veterans, partners, war widows and widowers who do not receive an income support pension from DVA or a pension or benefit from Centrelink and who meet an annual adjusted taxable income test.

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Lost, stolen or damaged cards

If your Gold, White or Orange card is lost, stolen or damaged you must contact DVA immediately so it can be cancelled and a new card issued.

It may take up to four weeks for a new card to be issued. DVA will provide a letter of authority for this period if you need one, or your health provider may phone DVA for information about your eligibility and entitlements.

Transport to medical appointments

If you hold a Gold or White Card you may be eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses for approved medical treatment. For further information please see the DVA website transport page.

How do I obtain a Health Card?

For more information about receiving a Health Card contact your nearest DVA office.

Repatriation Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme

The Repatriation Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme (RPBS) provides a wide range of pharmaceuticals and dressings at a concessional rate for the treatment of eligible veterans, war widows/widowers, and their dependants.

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Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme

The Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme (VPRS) is an annual reimbursement for eligible veterans for out–of-pocket costs associated with the concessional pharmaceutical co-payment. You will be paid this reimbursement automatically if you are eligible. You do not have to claim for it.

The second annual payment under the Scheme was made in the last week of March 2014 for out-of-pocket costs incurred in 2013. Future payments will be made in March of each year for the previous calendar year.

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FAQs

What are DVA health card arrangements?

The DVA Health Card arrangements are the main way the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), on behalf of the Australian Government, provides convenient access to health and other care services for veterans, war widows and eligible dependents. Our arrangements are based on providing access to clinically appropriate and required treatment, which is evidence-based. The Australian Government provides more than $5 billion in funding in health treatment, services and support to veterans and their families every year.

The DVA Health Card allows card holders a streamlined administrative process, whereby the health card holder only has to present their card when receiving treatment and not worry about seeking reimbursement or obtaining receipts and invoices for payment.

How do the health card arrangements work?

The arrangements are based on providing access to clinically appropriate and required treatment, which is evidence-based.

For medical and pharmaceutical services, although DVA arrangements are based on Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) arrangements, DVA provides access to a broader range of health services than is available to the general population through Medicare. DVA’s scheduled fees (or payments) to doctors and other medical providers of medical services are higher than the Medicare fee.

For subsidised pharmaceuticals, the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) provides DVA clients with access to a wider range of pharmaceuticals and wound dressings than are available to the general population.

For other services, such as the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) and Community Nursing, DVA maintains its own schedules and fee arrangements. The RAP is a veteran-specific service for Gold and White card holders (for accepted conditions) to give access to appliances which might aid recovery, assist in managing illness or injury or enable the client to remain in their own home. Community Nursing program’s aim is to enhance the independence and health outcomes of an entitled person by avoiding early admission to hospital and/or residential care by providing access to community nursing services to meet an entitled person’s assessed clinical and/or personal care needs.

What about health care providers?

Most providers in Australia accept DVA Health Cards. Providers who accept health cards are registered by the Australian Government and, as a requirement of accepting the cards, agree to accept DVA’s scheduled fee as full payment for the services. No medical health provider should charge a DVA health card holder a gap fee. Dental services have an annual monetary limit, and scripts for medication require a co-payment.

DVA encourages health card holders to ask providers whether they accept the DVA health card prior to making any arrangements for treatment.

What do the health card arrangements cover?

DVA Health Cards provide access to a broad range of treatments and services, including private or public hospital treatment, theatre fees, intensive care, GP services, referred specialist services, allied health services, dental services, optical services, community nursing services, pharmaceuticals, rehabilitation aids and appliances and ambulance cover. DVA Health Card holders are also covered for a wide range of rehabilitation devices and appliances, pharmaceutical needs and travel for treatment.

Is prior approval required for some treatment?

Some treatment may require prior approval from DVA. Your treating provider should be aware of what services and treatment require prior approval, and will arrange the approval with DVA where clinically appropriate. For more information they can visit the prior approval page on this website. If your provider advises the treatment they recommend is not covered by your DVA Health Card, you may ask them if they have considered requesting prior approval from DVA.

Have there been any changes to DVA Health Card arrangements?

One of the Government’s key priorities is to provide the best possible services in a cost effective and fair way.  The DVA Health Cards are an effective way of providing access to the range of health services.  

Regular assessments of the services that can be accessed through the DVA Health Card arrangements are undertaken, to assess how well the services are being delivered.

The range of services available through the DVA Health Card arrangements takes into account issues such as changing clinical practice and advances in technology, to ensure that the available services better meet our clients’ needs.

It is important to note that through prior approval arrangements, DVA can provide access to services which are not generally covered. This is only in circumstances where the services are clinically appropriate and required, and appropriate evidence is provided, usually by the treating practitioner.

Do DVA Health Card holders require private health insurance?

If you are a Gold card holder you are covered for all medically required treatment within Australia. DVA funds healthcare services for entitled veterans and war widow/widowers under the DVA Fee Schedules for Medical Services which is based on services available through the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

It should be noted that health card holders remain free to choose whether to use their Gold card or be treated as a private patient utilising private health insurance or as a Medicare patient as they see fit. You may choose to continue to hold private health insurance for coverage of alternative and complementary therapies such as remedial massage, homeopathy, hypnotherapy and hypnosis.

When travelling overseas, the Department does encourage Gold card holders to consider travel insurance as DVA can only fund medical treatment for accepted disabilities.

White card holders should consider private health insurance for treatment of conditions not accepted through their White card.

How is DVA working with the Department of Defence to address continuity of care?

DVA and Defence work closely to improve the care and support provided to transitioning ADF members. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the departments for the Cooperative Delivery of Care and Support to Eligible Persons has been in place since February 2013. Under the MoU, the Support for Wounded Injured or Ill Program, now in its third phase, is focussing on efficient sharing and use of information held by both departments to improve care and support. Numerous improvements in the way information is shared have already been implemented and planning is underway to identify and progress additional initiatives aimed at further improving connectivity.

For separating members of the ADF, DVA honours the rehabilitation determination made by a delegate of the Chief of the Defence Force and will usually continue the rehabilitation program already commenced by the person. Ideally, this also entails continuing with the same rehabilitation service provider, wherever possible.

It is worth noting that it is common for members to relocate considerable distances when transitioning out of the ADF. This presents a challenge because the member needs a new specialist they are comfortable with, and the new doctor may provide a different care plan.

How do DVA’s travel for treatment arrangements work?

DVA operates travel for treatment arrangements. The Department facilitates well over one million car trips and several thousand domestic flights for clients every year. DVA has a strong focus on monitoring the quality and responsiveness of the travel for treatment arrangements and appreciates clients advising us when the system doesn’t quite work for them.

In order to support clients’ individual needs, DVA has the following arrangements in place:

For VEA clients, transport bookings can be made by calling DVA during business hours (Metro callers: 1300 550 455, Regional callers: 1800 550 455) or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through DVA’s MyAccount. If the provider fails to attend and the health card holder is unaware of the provider, the health card holder can organise their own transport and then claim reimbursement.

MRCA/SRCA clients normally make their own travel for treatment appointments. Travel costs are then claimed by lodging a claim online using MyAccount, or by fax, email or post. In circumstances where a client is unable to manage their travel arrangements for clinical reasons, the Department can provide assistance. Clients can request assistance with travel for treatment by calling the Department during business hours (Metro callers: 133 254, Regional callers: 1800 555 254).

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