Medical Insurance

Medical Insurance for Expats in Australia

Australia has a public health system funded by a 1.5% Income Tax; however, the Government actively encourages people to have private health insurance, and it is a requirement of your working visa.

Eleven countries (the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden) have reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia. Visitors from these countries are eligible for Medicare assistance for only necessary medical treatment. Visitors from other countries need to arrange their own Australian private health insurance.

For more information on Australia’s private health insurance, go to:

Most temporary Visa holders are not eligible to enrol in Medicare. To find out if you are eligible, you should contact Medicare with your passport and visa documents. If you are eligible, you will be provided with a Medicare card.

Many Australians have private health insurance, covering the costs of private treatment and some services that Medicare does not cover, such as dental and optical services.

The Australian Government has put in place financial incentives to take out private health insurance, including a 30% rebate on the insurance premiums and an additional 1% tax levy on high-income earners who don’t take out insurance.

As an additional incentive, the Government introduced the Lifetime Health Cover scheme. Persons taking out hospital cover after their 31st birthday will pay 2% more for their cover for each year after their 31st birthday.

Special conditions now apply for migrants – migrants do not pay an increased cost if they purchase their hospital cover before their first anniversary of becoming eligible for Medicare.

Benefits of Private Medical Cover

Benefits of private medical coverage include avoiding the Lifetime Health Cover charge and the Medicare Levy Surcharge, shorter waiting times, and comfort and peace of mind.

As of December 2021, more than 14 million people in Australia have general treatment cover, and over 11.5 million have hospital treatment cover. The average cost of private medical cover for an individual in Australia is AUD$157 per month.

The Australian Government provides a rebate at the end of each tax year to help with the cost of private medical cover.

Pregnancy in Australia

Australia, in 2007 began a $15 million Federal Government funded, 24-hour pregnancy helpline. It is designed to provide pregnancy advice to women, and counsellors can advise anyone wanting to get pregnant. The helpline will be a great benefit for women who feel that they are facing their pregnancy alone.

Short Key Points About Australian Private Health Insurance:

  • Enables private patient hospital treatment.
  • Can cover healthcare costs not covered by Medicare, such as physiotherapy.
  • Regular premium payments are required.
  • Offers more health coverage and choice, including quicker access to some services.
  • Can help avoid Medicare levy surcharge, potentially reducing taxes.
    Provides eligibility for a government rebate based on income and coverage criteria.
  • Encourages taking out hospital cover before turning 31 through Lifetime Health Cover to avoid higher premiums.
  • Offers the same price for everyone for a specific policy and guarantees renewal rights.
  • Temporary visa holders should consider it for medical treatment costs coverage.
  • Can cover some in-hospital services, doctor and specialist services outside of hospitals, prescription medicines, prostheses, and ambulance costs.