Media Release: Digital Trial Creates Automatic Enrolment of Newborns In Medicare

22 August 2016

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

The Hon Angus Taylor MP

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation

A digital trial with Gold Coast University Hospital which finishes today has made life easier for parents by enabling automatic enrolment of their newborn into Medicare, the Medicare Safety Net and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

786 newborns were enrolled during the trial after their parents agreed to allow existing hospital data to be sent to the Department of Human Services, instead of requiring the completion of a six page Medicare enrolment form.

Participation in the trial was with parental consent.

The trial has been in operation since April of this year in a partnership between the Federal Government and Queensland Health Department. In an Australian first, it has involved the link of basic data between the state hospital system and the federal Medicare system to enrol the child for Medicare in a more streamlined way.

Usually, new parents are required to complete a six-page Medicare enrolment form or a Newborn Child Declaration. This has to be signed by their doctor or midwife and then lodged at a Government Centrelink or Medicare office. The trial bypasses this process.

Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the trial was an example of the Government’s commitment to making life easier for citizens through innovative digital solutions.

“This is about trying to make people’s interaction with government as simple and convenient as possible at every step. 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,” Minister Tudge said.

“Not only has the trial made it more convenient for parents, it has seen the average time to enrol a baby drop from 35 days to six. It has also cut government processing time in half.”

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the enrolment trial was a great example of the Government’s vision for digital transformation.

“Fundamentally, it is about helping people complete their business with Government as efficiently as possible, and this trial is an excellent example of that,” Assistant Minister Taylor said.

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

“Feedback from participating parents is strongly encouraging, with 97 per cent saying the process was convenient.”

The trial was a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) exemplar project. The DTO will continue to work with the Department of Human Services to consider options for expansion of the digital enrolment service and ensure that best practice is applied across Government.

The DTO’s report on the project can be found at the Digital Transformation Office website.