If you’re applying for an Australian Visa, you’re probably wondering what your healthcare entitlements are under Australian Law. Australia has a strong public health care program. However, not every person holding an Australian visa is covered by the Medicare Program.
Some visas will specifically require you to purchase private health insurance and maintain that coverage throughout your stay in Australia. Once you are granted a visa, a permanent resident visa or Australian Citizenship, you will then be entitled free access to the Medicare Program. However, until that is granted, your access to Medicare can often be a little more complicated.
What is Reciprocal Health care cover?
Australia has reciprocal health care agreements in place with some specific countries. If you are a visitor, or you hold a visa, and you’re from one of these specific countries, you may be able to access some of the publicly-funded care under Medicare Australia. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all agreements between countries are similar and the reciprocal health care offered is not equal. Consequentially, the entitlements may vary between the following countries. Australia currently has reciprocal agreements with the following countries:
- New Zealand
- The Republic of Ireland
This is likely to apply to the standard of care which you will receive under reciprocal health care agreement and would generally apply irregardless of the type of visa that you hold. Likewise, visa holders from certain countries may be able to enroll in Medicare for up to 6 months from their travel in Australia. You should check precisely the level of cover provided under the reciprocal agreement for your specific country. If the cover is not complete and comprehensive, we recommend that visitors also purchase overseas visitor health cover as a standard insurance policy to cover you during your time in Australia.
Permanent Visa Holders and Applicants
As a permanent resident visa holder or applicant, you may also be able to obtain a Medicare card. It is important to know the range of exclusions that are placed and some applicants will need to pass through cooling-off periods before they can access Medicare. If you are living in Australia and you’ve been granted permanent residency, you should visit the Medicare center and apply for Medicare card.
If you are a visitor from a selected country with the reciprocal agreement in place, you should also be able to apply. When you’re enrolled in Medicare with your bank details, any reimbursements will be directly paid into your account. When you attend the Medicare office in order to enrol in Medicare, you should also take the following documents with you:
- Passport for every person who is applying
- The Visa grant letter for each person
- When an applicant does not have permission to work, they will need to provide evidence that their spouse, parent or child is a permanent resident.
Can I Get Medicare on a Bridging Visa?
You can enrol in Medicare if you’ve applied for either:
- a permanent residency visa
- a permanent protection visa.
You generally cannot enrol in Medicare if you have only applied for a Temporary visa.
For more information, check out the Department of Human services website here.
If you’d like to learn more, you should contact Summit Migration for assessment of your eligibility under the Partner Visa program.