There are a number of common issues encountered by refugee, asylum seeker and other clients relating to Medicare and people’s names. The issues, and advice from Medicare are outlined below.
A person with only one name (single named person)
It is not uncommon for people from some countries to have only one name. Sometimes, Australian proformas, such a Medicare enrollment forms, state that a first name and surname are required (ie. mandatory fields). Often this results in people writing their first name or surname in both fields, even though this is inaccurate. It is not well known that Medicare enrollment form has an optional box that can be ticked to ensure that people with a single names’ rights are ensured:, and that they are not asked to inaccurately record their own name. To this end, the Medicare staff member should be asked to check the ‘single named person’ box on the Medicare home screen, which will override the need to provide a surname/first name. If you or a client are filling out a paper-based Medicare enrollment form, please clearly indicate a ‘single named person’ on the front of the form or in a cover letter.
** Medicare customer service staff may need to ask the relevant IT personnel to assist with locating this button. There are IT personnel in all Medicare offices.
A name or surname that contains more than 25 letters
Medicare is unable to print names of more than 25 letters on Medicare Cards. This is due to the space that is available on a printed card. This means that some individuals names do not appear in full on cards or in Medicare forms. There may also be problems entering names of more than 25 characters into the Medicare mandatory fields. Medicare are unable to change this at this time.