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Privacy fact sheet 22: Medicare and your My Health Record

The My Health Record system allows you to have certain information held by Medicare included in your My Health Record. This fact sheet explains what Medicare information can be included in a record, who has access to it and how you can control that access.

What is a My Health Record?

A My Health Record is an online summary of your health information, such as medicines you are taking, any allergies you may have and treatments you have received. It was previously known as a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) or eHealth record.

Your My Health Record allows your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers (such as physiotherapists) to view your health information, in accordance with your access controls. You are also able to access it online yourself.

The My Health Record system opt-out period commenced on 16 July 2018, and you now have until 31 January 2019 to advise the Australian Digital Health Agency if you do not want a My Health Record to be automatically created for you. Although the My Health Record system has previously been a self-register model, every individual with a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card who does not already have a record will now be automatically registered to have a My Health Record, unless they choose not to have one.

For further information about the My Health Record and what to do if you don’t want a record created, visit the My Health Record website or call the My Health Record helpline on 1800 723 471. You can also read the OAIC’s opt-out FAQs.

What Medicare information can be included?

The following types of Medicare information can be included in your My Health Record:

  • Details of claims made for Medicare benefits relating to health services covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) entitlements
  • Details of claims made for pharmaceutical benefits for medication covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS)
  • Organ donor status (from the Australian Organ Donation Register)
  • Immunisations that are included in the Australian Immunisation Register. This may include childhood immunisations and other immunisations given to you by a healthcare provider.

Decision to include Medicare information

If you do not opt-out and a My Health Record is created for you, you will be able to choose whether to include Medicare information in your My Health Record. It is important to understand that your Medicare information will, by default, be automatically included in your My Health Record unless you give notice not to include it. The upload of Medicare information will be triggered the first time someone accesses your My Health Record – this could be either you or your healthcare provider (whoever does so first).

It is important to note that if you do not want your Medicare data automatically uploaded to your record, you will need to set your Medicare preferences on your My Health Record as soon as possible after your record has been created. Your My Health Record will guide you through setting your privacy and security settings to not include your Medicare information.

If your healthcare provider is the first person to access your My Health Record, this will trigger your Medicare information to be included in your My Health Record if you have not yet changed your privacy settings.

If you are registering for a My Health Record for the first time, for example if you opted-out and now wish to register or you are registering a newborn, you can choose whether or not to include the information that Medicare already holds at the time of registration. After you make this initial decision, you can also choose to have past information, from the previous two years, for those categories included in your record. For more information on how to remove other information in your My Health Record, please visit the My Health Record Remove information page.

Important factors to consider when deciding whether to include Medicare information

It is important to note that MBS, RPBS, PBS and DVA claims information may indicate diagnosed conditions and illnesses. You should not include this information if you do not want the diagnosed conditions and illnesses to appear on your My Health Record.

You can make a decision to include Medicare information on behalf of a child if you are their parent or guardian. If you decide to include Medicare claims information, the child’s record will only contain information relating to the Medicare card number that you and the child share. If the child has any other authorised representative(s) who can access their record, they will be able to view this information. Once a child turns 14, no new or existing claims information will be recorded on their My Health Record until the child assumes control of their record and decides to include future claims information.

You can decide to no longer have your Medicare information in your My Health Record at any time. If you do decide to do this, no new information will be included on your record, however information that was already included will remain visible unless you ‘effectively remove’ each individual item from view. Alternatively, you can manually restrict access to past Medicare information by setting advanced access controls.

When making the decision whether to include Medicare information, it is important to be aware that you will not be able to edit individual items of Medicare information. However, you can ‘effectively remove’ documents containing those items from view. If you ‘effectively remove’ a document, that document will no longer be viewable or accessible by you or your healthcare providers.

For more information on setting advanced access controls please see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 19: How to manage your My Health Record.

Who will have access to the Medicare information in the My Health Record?

If you include Medicare information in your My Health Record, this information will be available to all healthcare providers, authorised representatives and nominated representatives who have access to your record, unless you restrict their access using the advanced access controls.

For further information on authorised and nominated representatives, see the My Health Record website.

More information

For more information on protecting your privacy in the My Health Record system, please see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 15: Tips for protecting the personal information in your My Health Record.

For more information on the OAIC’s role in the My Health Record system, please see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 18: The OAIC and the My Health Record system