Health Insurance in Australia – Medicare
Are you staying in Australia? Then it depends on your personal situation or how you are insured for medical expenses.
We compile this information with care. But the rules are complicated and often change. We can therefore not guarantee that this information is accurate and complete. That is why we recommend that you always know which rules apply to you.
How is healthcare arranged in Australia?
Australia has a government-paid medical care system under the name Medicare. The insurance is paid from a tax allowance ( medicare levy) and the general resources of the Australian federal government.
Low incomes do not have to pay a tax allowance. People with a high income who do not have private insurance pay a higher supplement.
In addition to Medicare, there is coverage for the costs of most medicines ( Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme ).
How can foreigners take out insurance?
Are you staying in Australia with a permanent residence permit ? Then you fall under Medicare.
Medicare is also accessible to Dutch students who come to Australia with a student visa. In addition, they must take out an OSHC ( Overseas Student Health Cover ). This is possible, for example, via the educational institution in Australia. For more information, visit the Australian Ministry of Health website.
Travelers from a limited number of countries – including the Netherlands – also have limited eligibility for Medicare for short stays in Australia.
How can I apply for Medicare?
If you have a permanent residence permit, you must report to a Medicare office upon arrival in Australia. Processing your application takes approximately ten days.
Are you only staying in Australia temporarily? Then you need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to qualify for limited eligibility for Medicare. You can request this card from EHIC or your Dutch health insurance company. Even then you must report to a Medicare office upon arrival.
What does Medicare reimburse?
Foreigners in Australia with a permanent residence permit are eligible for:
full or partial reimbursement of the costs of medical care by, for example, a general practitioner or specialist;
free treatment and stay in a public hospital;
partial contribution towards the costs for certain medicines.
Are you only staying in Australia temporarily? Then you are only eligible for Medicare if there is a medically necessary treatment. This means that your ailment or complaint originated in Australia and the treatment cannot be postponed until you are back in the Netherlands.
What should I look out for?
Medicare is not a substitute for travel insurance with medical coverage (or additional healthcare insurance). The coverage is particularly limited for travelers who are staying in Australia without a permanent residence permit. In addition, it is wise to take the following into account:
You receive no reimbursement for treatment and stay in a private hospital, or as a private patient in a public hospital;
Excluded from Medicare are: maternity care, ambulance transport, dentist, physiotherapy, prostheses, glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids.
Medicare only reimburses medical care in Australia and a limited number of countries outside; If you are traveling outside of Australia, there is a good chance that you are not insured.
What does the Dutch basic insurance cover?
It depends on your personal situation whether you are obliged to remain insured on your Dutch basic insurance during your stay in Australia.
Dutch basic insurance reimburses emergency care throughout the world. But you will never be reimbursed more than what the treatment costs in the Netherlands. You may therefore have to pay extra if you are staying in a country where medical care is expensive, such as Australia.
Repatriation (return to the Netherlands) or evacuation due to an illness or accident is not covered by Dutch basic insurance.
Which solution does Pat Vergos offer?
Pat Vergos is a specialist in the field of medical insurance for long-term stays abroad. Our insurance policies offer a solution if you are no longer eligible for Dutch basic insurance. Our insurance policies can also be a supplement, for example for costs that are not covered by Dutch basic insurance or Medicare.