Medicare is Australia’s main healthcare government-funded scheme. New Zealand citizens can enrol in Medicare immediately (recommended a week after you arrive) if they provide proof that they’ll be living in Australia for the next 6 months (see below). You can enrol any time in the 6 months after you first arrive in Australia.
Until you enrol, you can get healthcare under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement. This covers essential treatment in a public hospital. You can’t enrol or get a Medicare card until you prove you live in Australia.
The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement between New Zealand and Australia provides temporary coverage for medically necessary care in a public hospital and access to prescription medications at a lower price. However, it is important to note that it is only designed as a temporary measure and longer-term treatment may require returning to New Zealand.
The Australian Government funds three major national health schemes, Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate. These are funded via taxes and the income-based Medicare Levy, which everyone has to pay.
In this post you will find helpful information on:
Medicare is a publicly funded universal health care scheme in Australia. Operated by the government authority Medicare Australia, Medicare is the primary funder of health care in Australia, funding primary health care for Australian citizens and permanent residents (except for those on Norfolk Island).
Residents are entitled to subsidised treatment from medical practitioners, eligible midwives, nurse practitioners and allied health professionals who have been issued a Medicare provider number and can also obtain free treatment in public hospitals.
Find more information on Medicare Australia here.
If you are making plans to move to Australia, applying for health insurance is an important part of the process. Aside from that, it’s always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected.
In Australia, the public health system Medicare covers most Australian residents for health care. However, Medicare does not cover everything and you can choose to take out private health insurance to give yourself a wider range of health care options and more comprehensive coverage.
There are two types of health insurance: hospital & general treatment (ancillary or extras). You can buy them separately or most funds offer combined policies. There will be limitations on what and when you can claim with any policy you buy.
The Private Health Insurance Rebate is a federal government subsidy for the cost of insurance, while the Lifetime Health Cover rules are designed to encourage people to purchase private health cover earlier and to stay covered.
Most Australians with private health insurance currently receive a rebate from the Australian Government to help cover the cost of their premiums. You can find more information on my private health insurance post.
If you are in Australia on a temporary student visa or if you are applying for a visa subclass 457, it is a visa condition that you take out private health cover. If you are visiting Australia on any other visa, you should consider taking out some cover for the duration of your stay.
To allow for a simpler comparison of health insurance products all Australian health insurers are required by law to provide details of each of their products to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman. PrivateHealth.gov.au contains details of every health insurance policy available in Australia, as well as its Private Health Information Statement.
This government website gives you facts that are not biased or trying to sell you anything! It gives you comprehensive, independent private health insurance information.
Private health insurance is important because there are things Australia’s Medicare system does not cover. The same reasons you have Health Insurance in New Zealand apply in Australia.
With Health Insurance you’ll get access to elective surgery, probably with your choice of doctor, in the comfort of a private hospital without having to wait months or even years.
In Australia, the taxpayer-funded Medicare healthcare system covers many medical, hospital and pharmaceutical costs. Under this system, you can be treated as a public patient, at no charge, in a public hospital by a doctor appointed by the hospital.
However, as a public patient, you have to wait your turn and you are at the mercy of waiting lists for doctors and procedures. The same as in New Zealand.
The benefits of private health insurance include a greater choice of doctors than you would get in the public system, access to a private hospital that might be more comfortable than the public one, and probably a shorter wait for some forms of elective (non-urgent) surgery.
In the public system, if you need elective rather than emergency surgery you may have to wait months or even years. But with private health insurance, you may be able to have elective surgery within weeks, possibly at a time and place convenient to you.
In addition, some forms of health care are not available for free in the public system. You have to meet the costs of your regular visits to the dentist, for instance.
Depending on the policy you take out, and within the annual maximum payouts set by the policy, private health insurance can cover costs such as:
A good GP can be one of the most important people in your life, particularly if you have a chronic condition or develop a serious illness. A positive ongoing relationship with your GP is priceless, so it’s important to choose the right one.
The best doctors do more than just diagnose – they coordinate your complete healthcare, sending you the right tests and to the right specialists. They’ll help you stay healthier and limit unnecessary hospital visits.
Choice has put together an extremely helpful guide to help you find your new GP – Your guide to choosing a good GP.
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If you’ve read the above content and the answer to your question isn’t there, please comment below and I’ll research the answer for you. Please note, if the answer to your question is in the content above, I will not reply. Sorry, I just get too many questions these days and I can’t keep up.