Australian healthcare industry is one of the most sophisticated in the world with best-in-class equipment and medical professionals. Doctors from various specialist fields and nurses are always in demand in Australia. Given that the post explores who is entitled to claim Medicare in Australia.

Medicare is a government healthcare system that covers the Australian citizens and PR holders’ health expenses. The Department of Health tailors the Medicare policy, and the human services department administers the Medicare Scheme. DHS also decides who can or cannot avail Medicare facility in Australia.

Those who are not eligible for claiming Medicare facility must get a private health insurance cover for the period of their stay in down under. In fact, your health insurance must start covering you right from the moment you set foot in Australia until you leave the country. If the insurance cover expires before you leave Australia, you need to buy another to stay-on in the country. Failing which, you will be asked to leave the country.

What are the benefits of Medicare

  • Lower prescription cost
  • Free care in public hospitals as a public patient
  • These services can be availed at lower prices or for free:
  • Optometrists
  • Doctors
  • Specialists
  • Dentists
  • Other allied medical professionals, in some cases

In case you get treatment in a private hospital, as a Medicare cardholder, you will get 75% discount on hospital charges, excluding accommodation, medicinal and theatre charges.

Medicare Safety Net – It is a registration based benefit scheme applicable to registered Medicare cardholders, such as singles (they are automatically listed), couple or family (need to register). The plan gives higher Medicare benefits for out of hospital expenses.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – Provides benefit of getting discounts on medicine purchase.

Private Health Insurance – Reduced premium on private health insurances.

The Medicare benefits get directly transferred to your bank account. That is why you need to provide bank account details while enrolling in the scheme. The claim processing gets easier when you also have a private health insurance cover.

Who can access Medicare in Australia?

The below set of people are eligible to access Medicare under public health system of Australia.

  • Australian citizens
  • Australian PR holders
  • Returning Residents
  • Some of the temporary visa holders
  • PR visa applicants who are either a child, spouse or a parent of the Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Some of the PR visa applicants who have legal rights to work in Australia
  • PR visa applicants who are a child, spouse or parent of a New Zealand citizen, who is an Australian resident
  • Temporary visa holders who are citizens of countries covered under Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia

You can check Department of Human Services to know whether you are entitled to Medicare or not.

Currently, these are the countries having Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia. The list changes depending on the government policies.

  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • UK

The terms of the agreement may differ country to country, so better check with our migration expert to clarify the status of your Medicare entitlement.

The residents of Ireland cannot have a Medicare card. However, they can get medical care in public hospitals. Similarly, some of the visitors to Australia can enroll in Medicare scheme valid for 6 months.

Documents required to enroll in Medicare

  • Duly filled an Enrollment Application Form (3101). It is available on DHS official site.
  • Identity proofs
  • Passport or ImmiCard
  • Visa grant copy or an acknowledgement copy of visa application received or a print-out form VEVO of your current visa status
  • Evidence of relationship with the Australian citizen, PR or New Zealand citizen (currently Australian resident)

The DIBP electronically shares your visa details with the DHS about your visa status and entitlement.

All the applicants claiming Medicare must furnish the above documents independently.