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Participating Health Funds

RECIPROCAL HEALTH CARE AGREEMENTS

Which countries have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with Australia?

Countries that have Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with Australia are listed below (in alphabetical order), along with the period of cover you are eligible for:

Country

Period of Cover

Belgium

You are covered until the expiry date on your European Health Insurance Card, or to the length of your authorised stay in Australia if earlier. Please note you will require a European Healht Insurance card to enrol in Medicare.

Finland

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

Ireland

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

Italy

You must be a resident and citizen of Italy, and will be covered for a period of six months from the date of arrival in Australia.

Malta

You must be a resident and citizen of Malta, and will be covered for a period of six months from the date of arrival in Australia.

Netherlands

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

New Zealand

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

Norway

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

Sweden

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

The UK

You will be covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

What does the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement cover?

If you are visiting from one of these countries you will receive a Medicare card that generally covers you for medically necessary treatment only. Medically necessary treatment means any ill-health or injury which occurs while you are in Australia and requires treatment before you return home. It does not include treatment considered ongoing or elective, and it does not cover treatment in a private hospital.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements cover:

  • free treatment as a public in-patient or outpatient in a public hospital
  • subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital medical treatment provided by doctors through private surgeries and community health centres

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements do not cover (because Medicare does not cover):

  • medicines not subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • dental work and allied health services
  • treatment arranged before your visit to Australia
  • accommodation and medical treatment in a private hospital
  • accommodation and treatment as a private patient in a public hospital

If you will be receiving treatment, you can enrol at Medicare offices throughout Australia. If you receive treatment before you enrol, Medicare benefits will be back paid for eligible visitors.

Residents from countries with Reciprocal Health Care Agreements are welcome to take up residents cover, but please keep in mind that while residents cover will exempt you from the Medicare Levy Surcharge*, you will receive limited or no treatment as a private patient.

* The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an extra 1% tax imposed on people who earn over the following income thresholds but do not have private health cover. Holding Overseas Visitors Health Cover is enough to exempt you from this tax.

^ The Australian Government offers residents of Australia a minimum 30% rebate on the cost of their health insurance.

Do I still need to take out Overseas Visitors Health Cover?

If you are applying for a visa where health cover is a mandatory part of the application (like the 457 visa), holding a Reciprocal Health Care Medicare card is sufficient to meet the requirements of the visa grant. However, because you can apply for Medicare only once you're in Australia, you may need to take out cover initially to apply for your visa.

For more information go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au or contact Medicare on 131 011. A translating/interpreting service is available on 131 450.