If you’re a permanent resident in Australia, you will be eligible to the public health system – Medicare – like any other Australian native.
You will have to register with Medicare upon arrival in Australia. Here is the documents checklist to enrol at Medicare.
Medicare funds (or reimburses) expenses related to services provided by medical practitioners.
Eye examination by optometrists is also covered.
Dental treatment is excluded except for certain surgical procedures that can only be performed in hospital by specially trained maxillo-facial surgeons.
For in-hospital treatment, i.e. medical treatment provided to an admitted patient of a hospital (which usually excludes treatment provided in an outpatient or accident/emergency department of a hospital), Medicare pays 75% of the MBS Fee.
For out-of-hospital treatment, i.e. treatment provided to a person who is not an admitted patient of a hospital, Medicare pays 100% of the MBS fee for general practitioner consultations and 85% of the MBS fee for specialist consultations.
Treatment in a public hospital as a public patient is fully subsidised by Medicare. Regardless of means, every Australian is entitled to attend a public hospital and receive medical treatment free of charge. However, there may be a considerable waiting list for elective surgery. Treatment and hospital accommodation is free to the patient. This is funded through the Commonwealth-State Health Care Agreement.
A Medicare card will be delivered with your own personal Medicare number. The card is necessary to get medical treatment or to pick up drugs at the pharmacy for instance.
If you have a working holiday visa, or if you hold a temporary visa in Australia, you’re not eligible to the public health system in Australia. You will have to get a private health insurance.
Please use our free advice and quotation service to find your private health insurance in Australia!
A limited access to the public health system is nonetheless granted to foreign natives coming from countries that have signed agreements with Australia. For more information, please visit the Medicare website at medicareaustralia.gov.au/ (information kits are available in 18 different languages).