Medical Insurance for Expats in Australia

Medical Insurance

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

Nine countries (the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden) have reciprocal health care 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 Australia private health insurance.

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

Most temporary Visa holders are not eligible to enroll 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 the first anniversary of the day their became eligible for medicare.

Pregnancy in Australia

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