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Medicare and Overseas Visitors


Eligibility to Medicare by overseas visitors is dependent on the persons county of origin and their Visa.  Even those with limited access to Medicare should take overseas visitors health insurance.

Overseas Visitors ineligible for Medicare

In the majority of cases, visitors to Australia do not have full access to the Australian National Health Scheme, Medicare, and are therefore responsible for all costs associated with private hospital, medical and para-medical health care rendered in Australia.

The Australian private health care sector provides very high quality services at costs comparable to many other developed countries.

Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) is a type of health insurance designed specifically for those people who are not entitled to full Medicare cover. Various forms of this insurance are available from a range of Australian Health Funds and insurance companies. OVHC generally covers services associated with episodes of hospitalisation and doctors fees.

If you are planning to stay in Australia you should make sure that you are covered by adequate health insurance. HICA can provide health insurance options to Overseas Visitors including a comprehensive personal assessment and advice to ensure you have appropriate cover from the date of arrival in Australia. Contact us for further details.

Overseas Visitors with Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with eight countries - New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Malta, Belgium and Ireland. Under the Agreements, residents of these countries have restricted access to Medicare while visiting Australia.

Each reciprocal agreement is different from the others, varying in both benefits and duration of eligibility. Importantly, the Agreements do not cover all health services. Some services not covered under the agreements include:

•    Treatment that is not immediately necessary,

•    Ambulance cover,

•    Dental care,

•    Para Medical Services,

•    Medical evacuation to your home country,

•    Funerals,

•    Treatment and accommodation in private hospitals, or as a private patient in a public hospital,

•    Elective treatment,

•    Treatment that has been prearranged before arrival in Australia.

For this reason it is highly recommended that all visitors to Australia from Reciprocal Health Care Agreement countries acquire appropriate health or travel insurance designed for overseas visitors.

HICA is well placed to assist you with your immediate and longer term health cover needs and is pleased to offer the opportunity to help you arrange appropriate Private Health Insurance for your time in Australia.

Overseas students

All foreign students studying in Australia must take out OSHC. If you are in Australia on a student visa from the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy or New Zealand you are covered by Medicare. Students from Norway, Finland, Malta and the Republic of Ireland are not covered by the agreements with those countries.

Overseas students should contact HICA to arrange OSHC before they arrive in Australia.