Life will change dramatically when you discharge from the Navy, Air Force or Army.
One of the biggest changes you’ll face in your transition to civilian life is in navigating the health system. For the first time in a long time, your health care will be up to you to manage.
Much of your transition preparation will take place before you leave the ADF. First stop is to attend a transition seminar. They’re held regularly on base or at the Transition Centre. The seminar will highlight what you need to do before transition as well as afterwards to manage your health.
It’s critical to get your medical and dental care sorted during the last 12 months of your service. And if you’ve been deployed in the previous two years, you’ll need to undertake Post Operational Psychological Screening.
Apart from the fact Defence will cover the cost of any treatment you need before discharge, the comprehensive medical record at the time of separation will be vital if you need Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) assistance down the track.
DVA support services include treatment, rehabilitation, compensation and financial support (Gold or White Cards) for service-related injuries or illnesses.
Assuming you don’t qualify for a DVA health card, you’re still entitled to receive publicly funded hospital and medical treatment through Medicare. Medicare also provides subsidised prescription medicine and diagnostic tests.
Medicare does not provide rebates for general treatment such as dental, physiotherapy or podiatry – or cover any costs for ambulance services.
The Medicare-funded public health system is world class. But it’s under pressure and hospital treatment can require lengthy waiting periods. Plus any general treatment (physio and the like) is at your own expense.
Private hospital cover can help you to avoid public hospital waiting lists and get the treatment you need sooner. Extras cover can provide benefits to lower the out-of-pocket costs of dental, optical, physiotherapy and other general treatment. Most insurers will also include cover for ambulance services. Without insurance you will need to take out a separate ambulance subscription.
To find out where private hospital or extras cover fits within your individual or family’s needs, check out the Defence Health Transitioning from the ADF brochure. It’s got all the information you need to navigate the health system once you discharge.