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19 Oct 2015

Australian Healthcare

One of the many advantages of moving to Australia is being able to benefit from the fantastic healthcare offered in the country, and thought to be some of the best in the world.

Similar to the NHS within the UK, Australia also has a government-run, public healthcare system which is known as Medicare.  The system is in place across all states.

Medicare offers either free, or subsidised treatments, services and medicines and can be utilised by all citizens of Australia, including permanent visa holders.

Do I need to sign up for Medicare?

You will need to register for Medicare before you are eligible to receive any treatment – there are Medicare offices around the country that you can visit following your arrival in Australia and it will be sensible for you to do so shortly after entering the country.  You’ll need to complete some paperwork, and will need identification documents including your passport and other travel documents such as your visa.

If you’d like more information about the public healthcare system and how it works, including how to claim, you can find more details on the Medicare website www.medicareaustralia.gov.au

What if I’m not eligible for Medicare?

Not everyone residing in Australia is eligible to claim for free healthcare with Medicare.  Depending on the visa you have, it may be a necessary requirement to take out private health insurance to cover you for any medical treatment that you need to receive during your time in the country.

Although a high percentage of Australian citizens are entitled to use the Medicare system for free, many of them choose to take out private health insurance anyway as high income earners are taxed an extra 1% if they do not have it.

Taking out private health insurance is a fairly simple process – there are a number of providers in Australia, offering a wide variety of policy options so you are able to choose the right level of cover for your requirements.  Some providers may offer specific coverage for those who have recently moved to the country and are looking to become permanent citizens of Australia.

Should I bring anything with me to Australia?

Before travelling to Australia, it would be a good idea to make arrangements with your current GP or healthcare provider to get a copy of the medical records for you and the rest of your family.  If you have these with you when you travel any healthcare providers that you need to use whilst in Australia can have easier access to your medical history without too much paperwork and red tape being involved, often delaying the process.

Schools and childcare providers will expect to see immunisation records so if you have children, you should also bring these with you.

If you are currently taking any regular medications, it may be wise to make sure you have enough to cover your period of travel to Australia and for at least 7-14 days after arrival just in case you experience any delays when registering for healthcare on arrival.


Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).


Filed in: Visas

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