I still haven't got used to the healthcare system over here. Dh wants me to take ds3 to have his skin checked because of a red lump on his back (although this is something he had before we came over to Australia). And ds1 has some persistent pains in his foot so I would like to take him to a podiatrist. Do I have to get a GP's referral for either of these? And do I have to check it out with the healthcare fund beforehand if I want to get any money back from the appointments?
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along but yes I think you need a GP referral. I have just had to have DS referred for something and first went to GP, then to specialist for initial appointment. Had to pay for this but got about half back through medicare. His course of treatment is through hospital system so don't have to pay. But I think if the specialist refers you for further treatment then your healthcare should cover it. I would ask your GP - ours are really good at explaining what to do next, I think they are used to clueless poms with no idea how the system works
Check your insurance to see what is covered, but you don't need to tell them in advance of the treatment. Not sure you need a ref for a podiatrist, but your GP may be able to point you in the direction of a good one anyway. You will need a ref if your son needs a dermatologist, but most Aus GPs are well trained in spotting skin cancers etc so won't always refer you if they are confident it's nothing to worry about.
Just make sure you keep all your receipts for making a claim or ask if the claim can be made direct so you only pay the difference.