Welcome to the Leave Home blog.
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Search the Blog
Find us on Facebook
I don’t know about you, but when I moved out of home, I realised just how much of my medical care my parents took care of. Bless their heart. I had very little idea on the costs of treatment, where to find a Doctor or General Practitioner (GP) and what services were available to me. It all seemed overwhelming. And if you are tackling it when you get sick then it’s going to be too much!
Some people change over their card as soon as they can, I wasn’t one of those people and there are pluses and minuses for both routes. But part of taking control of your medical care is to have access to a card via your own copy. If you are currently on your parents Medicare card it is worth having the conversation with them before going ahead with this. They may be continuing your coverage on their family private health fund or similar that requires you to be on their card.
If you’re all clear to go then you can get the forms from the Medicare website. Once completed they can be submitted at your local Department of Human Services Centre. If you require assistance completing the form contact the Medicare office or drop into one of their physical locations. The form allows you to transfer your records to another card so your medical information stays with you.
Be sure to keep your medicare card in your wallet at all times. You never know when you are going to need it.
There are a lot of things to consider when finding a GP. Such as whether they bulk bill or not, ease of access, whether you feel comfortable with them and if they specialise in a pre-existing illness you may have. Ask around and if you aren’t happy with the treatment you receive then don’t be afraid to find another doctor.
When you are making an appointment for the first time, be sure to ask about costs. There is nothing worse than turning up to the appointment and being stung with a large bill! That way you can prepare before you go for the costs associated which will put you more at ease. It is also worth mentioning that having your records moved from your family doctor to your need one will make for a seamless transition. Just call your parent’s doctor and give them the details of your new GP. They will (sometimes for a fee) send over your medical history.
As a side note, once you find a GP that you like it is worth hanging around. Sticking with the one GP means that you have continuity of care; someone who knows you, your medical history, medications, etc. and whether something is normal for you or not. They’ll be taking care of you as you are taking control of your medical care.
This will depend on a number of things including where you live, your income and if you already have a pre-existing condition that will need more specialist treatment. I have discovered that not all specialists will accept patients without health insurance, so be sure to check this before making an appointment.
You may also be eligible for tax breaks if you have health insurance and insurance is often less expensive when you are under the age of 31. Speak to your accountant if you have questions to your specific case.
One of the things that I hated most about going to the Dr when I first moved out of home was when they would ask if there was any family history of illness. I usually gave them a blank stare. My family is pretty closed off when it comes to revealing when they are struggling medically, so it was like pulling hens teeth! Even basic history of your direct relatives (mum, dad, siblings and grandparents) can be enough.
There are subsidies available for different specialists and sometimes, not even your GP will know about all of the Medicare subsidies available for specialist treatment. Here’s an example from my personal experience in the mental health of.
Through the “Better Access to Mental Health Care” intuitive in Australia, you are eligible for up to ten treatments per calendar year with a registered mental health practitioner. This can include a psychologist, mental health nurse, social worker, or occupational therapist. Medicare also gives you 50 subsidised sessions per calendar year for a psychiatrist. You may also be eligible for up to five subsidised sessions with an allied health practitioner through the Chronic Disease Management service. When you go looking, you will find there is a lot of options available to you and it’s time to get asking.
Of course, referral into anything like this will be under the advisement of your doctor/GP. I’m highlighting this to demonstrate that there are lots of options for care and support out there, you just have to ask.
I know the feeling, you’ve just moved out of home, you are independent and no one can tell you what to do. But there’s the small issue of you having no idea what to do. Don’t hesitate to call your Mum or Dad, another trusted relative or a friend who seems to have it more together than you. I’m sure we all have one of those friends! Tell them that you need to see a Doctor but you don’t know exactly what to do. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s better than letting something like an ingrown toenail or a small cold get so bad you need to bypass the Dr altogether and head to the hospital!
If you could give someone leaving home one tip about finding medical treatment, what would it be?
Tegan blogs at Musings of the Misguided where she talks about mental health, parenting and everything in between! When she isn’t faffing about on the internet (all in the name of research of course!) she can be found spending time with her family and her hyperactive foxy.