How to apply, what you’re entitled to, costs of healthcare and more…

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.

As an NZ Citizen you are eligible for Medicare Australia. However you do need to either be living in Australia for 6 months or provide proof that you’ll be living here for the next 6 months.

Info you will find below in this post:

Medicare Enrollment for NZ Citizens

Here is all the information you will need for Medicare enrollment for New Zealand Citizens: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/medicare-enrolment-new-zealand-citizens.

It is recommended you wait one week after your arrival in Australia before applying, to allow time for Medicare to receive your visa details from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

You get a Medicare card when you enrol in Medicare. They’ll usually tell you your Medicare number straight away and send your card in 3 to 4 weeks. They’ll send it to the address you give them. You can use a digital copy of your Medicare card as soon as you enrol.

You can get a digital copy of your Medicare card. You’ll need to sign into the Express Plus Medicare app to access it. To use the app, you need a myGov account linked to your Medicare online account. If you don’t have these, set them up and then download the app.  

Process to enroll in Medicare Australia

Complete a Medicare enrolment form and mail or email it with your documents to Medicare Enrolment Services. You don’t need to get your supporting document certified. You can still apply in person in a Medicare Office. Please remember to take your passport.

As an New Zealand citizen residing in Australia you need to provide 2 residency documents from the below (2 documents from Australia or 1 document from Australia and 1 from where you last lived).

Documents from another country:

  • sale of property (sale agreement)
  • cessation of lease agreement for rental property
  • termination of employment (acceptance of resignation by employer)
  • transit document for household goods and/or furniture
  • closure of bank accounts
  • cancellation of health, property or contents insurance.

Documents from Australia:

  • purchase of property agreement and gas or electricity accounts in same name
  • lease agreement for rental of property and gas or electricity accounts in same name
  • evidence of employment
  • evidence of children at school or university
  • private health insurance in Australia
  • opening of bank accounts
  • proof you moved household goods or furniture
  • property or contents insurance.

As you can see from the above, these documents support the fact that you have moved to Australia and plan to live there for the foreseeable future. Not just on holiday and wish to get cheap healthcare while there. Most rental agreements in Australia for 1 year minimum. If you moved your furniture over, you are not going to move it back in a hurry… etc.

You can read more on the Medicare Australia website, documents you need if you’re a New Zealand citizen to prove your identity and residency. 

Medicare Australia Entitlements

  • Free treatment as a public hospital patient.
  • An 85% rebate on the schedule fee for treatments when you haven’t been admitted to hospital (ie. A visit to the doctor).
  • Medicare Safety Net – If you pay over and above the Medicare rebate you may be eligible. To find out more visit Medicare Safety Net.
  • Health Care Cards are available from Centrelink for those requiring additional financial help. Permanent residents are usually subject to a 2 year waiting period before one will be provided. 

Medicare Eligibility

You can find the below information on the Medicare’s eligibility criteria webpage.

You can enrol in Medicare if you live in Australia and you’re any of these:

You can also enrol if you’re a citizen or permanent resident of any of these: Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island or Lord Howe Island. You may be able to enrol if you’re visiting from a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement country. 

Costs of Healthcare through Medicare

Prescription Medicine

The PBS rebate is deducted before being sold on to you. After this most people should pay a maximum of $23.10 towards the cost of a medicine covered by PBS, concession card holder a maximum of $3.70.

Doctor Visits

If your doctor Bulk Bills (rather hard to find but more common for concession card holders), you should not have to pay anything for an appointment with your doctor.

If they do not bulk bill, you will need to pay the ‘gap’ between the Medicare rebate and the fee if the surgery will do the rebate on the spot, or the entire amount (most common). If you pay the entire amount you need to apply to Medicare for the rebate, in person or via the post.

The Medicare scheduled fee for a standard appointment is approximately $29.45 and the doctor’s fee can be around $40. Your out of pocket expenses are what is taken into account if you register for the Medicare Safety Net. 

Medicare Australia Contact Details

For more information on Medicare visit: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/contact-us.

You might be interested in…

The below posts might interest you:

Still got unanswered questions?

Ask them below in the comment section and I will get back to you asap. You might also find the answers in the questions other visitors have asked.

 

55 Comments

  1. Vinny

    July 1, 2022 at 12:27 am

    Hey !! Iam an Australian citizen that has recently moved back to Australia so I reenrolled into medicare. Iam also 5 months pregnant. Can pregnant women have shorter waiting periods in order to receive their medicare card?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      July 1, 2022 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Vinny,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Why don’t you replace your old card, if you had one? You can replace it by:
      – requesting a new card via your myGov account linked to Medicare, or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app
      – calling Medicare general enquiries on 132 011
      – visiting a Medicare Service Centre with your proof of identity.
      They will be able to tell you your number so you can start using it straight away.
      Let me know if I’ve got it wrong and you weren’t previously enrolled in Medicare Australia.
      Thanks

      Reply
  2. Joanna

    June 30, 2022 at 9:52 am

    Firstly thank you so much for creating this useful resource !
    I moved to Brisbane in April and it’s been super helpful.

    I applied for Medicate 5 weeks ago and haven’t heard anything except the automatic email response form the MES email.
    I had COVID last week (no major symptoms) but it made me wonder when I should be able to get my application confirmed.
    Does anybody know?
    Are there any FB groups I could join to ask this question?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 30, 2022 at 10:29 am

      Hi Joanna,
      Thanks for your comment and compliment.
      So you applied online?
      I’ve just read that It may take up to 6 weeks to process your application if you apply between July and November, but you applied in May so this doesn’t apply to you: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/after-you-apply-for-medicare-entitlement-statement?context=23266.
      If you want an immediate answer, I recommend calling Medicare on
      132 011 (7 days a week 24 hours a day), or take your application and ID into a Medicare Service Centre: https://findus.servicesaustralia.gov.au/.
      They will let you know either way, but it sounds like it could take 6 weeks.
      Thanks

      Reply
      • Joanna

        July 13, 2022 at 11:55 am

        Hi JJ,
        Thanks for your information and insights.
        FYI I sent in my application on May 21 via email and received my card in the mail on 8th July. So just over 6 weeks.
        Thanks again for your help and for the website!

        Reply
  3. Alan

    May 23, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Hello, We are looking at relocating to Australia & would like to know if my Mum would be covered by Medicare.
    Mum is a New Zealand Citizen & is 90 years of age this October.
    Kind Regards, Alan.

    Reply
  4. Arn

    November 22, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Hi JJS,
    New Zealander thinking of moving to Australia.
    Could you please tell me what will happen if a New Zealander become seriously ill or diagnosed with a serious illness while in Australia. Will they be eligible for all medical treatments as compared to Australian Citizens/ Permanent residents ?
    Will Medicare or any other equivalent agency will help cover the cost of treatment ? i.e. ongoing treatments or specialist procedures etc.
    How is a New Zealander differ from Australian Citizen/ Resident when it comes to accessing healthcare ?
    Thanks heaps.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      November 24, 2021 at 3:16 am

      Hi Arn,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Under Australia’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with New Zealand, New Zealand residents visiting/living in Australia are also entitled to services as public patients in a public hospital for medically necessary treatment and prescription medicines which are subsidised under the PBS. Same care as Australian citizens.
      New Zealanders who are residing in Australia are also eligible for Medicare and can be issued with a Medicare card upon presentation of documentation proving residence. Since New Zealand citizens who are lawfully residing in Australia are entitled to Medicare, they must also pay the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge (if their income is above the base income threshold and they do not have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover).
      You can read more here: https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1617/Quick_Guides/NZAust.
      Like in NZ, you can choose to take out private health insurance to give yourself a wider range of health care options and more comprehensive cover.
      Thanks

      Reply
  5. Ren

    June 11, 2021 at 3:52 am

    Hi, we are considering moving to Australia next year from NZ. My 11 year old has type 1 diabetes. Do you know if her insulin is covered by Medicare? What are the costs per month for her?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 15, 2021 at 1:10 am

      Hi Ren,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I have looked into this before and the good news is as a NZ citizen you and your daughter are eligible for Australia Medicare card’s.
      A Medicare card will allow you access to medical professionals such as a general practitioner (GP) with the payment for the service subsidised. To purchase medications at subsidised rates through pharmacies a GP will provide you with a prescription for diabetes medication, such as insulin. More information on medication costs can be found on the PBS website: https://www.pbs.gov.au/pbs/search?term=insulin.
      Here is a great resource for you: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/living-with-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/visiting-or-moving-to-australia/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  6. Diana Hartog

    May 20, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Hi there! My partner is an NZ citizen who has been residing/working in Australia for 4 years. I am an Australian citizen with 2 minors. Can we have combined Medicare due to us living together/being spouses for combined safety net / levy threshold purposes or will be require his own separate card?

    Reply
  7. Lorraine Brunton

    May 3, 2021 at 5:54 am

    Hi JJ,
    Thanks for the information you sent.
    My husband has a rare gastro condition called Cronkhite Canada Syndrome. He is on 8 weekly infusions of Infleximab (Remicade) which as I said is done at a public hospital in New Zealand.
    Really appreciate your help.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 3, 2021 at 10:44 pm

      Hi Lorraine,
      I can’t find anything online stating whether your husbands condition is covered or not. Have you asked the doctor in NZ? They might know for sure. If the doctor in NZ doesn’t know you should reach out to The Royal Melbourne Hospital. I always advise to call before filling out the online form. Hopefully they can help: https://www.thermh.org.au/contact.
      Have a read of this page on the Australian Government Department of Health website: https://www.health.gov.au/about-us/the-australian-health-system.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  8. Chelsea Taylor

    February 23, 2021 at 11:10 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for your great support! My parents are Australian citizens, living in Canada but will be returning to Australia six months/year. Can they apply for Medicare? They have a residential address and bank accounts in Australia
    Cheers
    Chelsea

    Reply
  9. Flora

    October 19, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Hi. We have just granted the PR status and will be moving to Australia within the future six months. Can we apply for the Medicare online? And how long does it usually take to get the Medicare card? Do we have to wait for the arrival of the card before we can get any medical benefits? Many thanks.

    Reply
  10. Russ

    October 13, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Hi there, great site.
    Just wondering if our Medicare cards/ membership would still be valid as we haven’t been living in Aus for about 20 years, (NZ Citizens) although have been back for numerous holidays sine we left.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 15, 2020 at 3:01 am

      Hi Russ,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Medicare cards are valid for 5 years. However, I believe your Medicare number will remain the same.
      You will need request a new card. You can do this by using your Medicare online account (https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/medicare-online-accounts) through myGov (https://my.gov.au/) or by calling the Medicare general enquiries line (+61 2 8633 3284).
      Please note, you may need to wait until your in Australia and call 132 011 to request a new card.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  11. Amy

    July 20, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Hi, I understand Medicare subsidises doctors etc and you need to pay a portion of the doctors fees per visit. My query is, on top of this, is there also a monthly/yearly fee? We are a NZ family living in Australia and currently have private insurance. I haven’t signed up to Medicare as I thought there were also a yearly fee.

    Reply
  12. Sarah

    February 17, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Hi there,

    Do you know if you have to leave the Medicare Scheme once you return to New Zealand and if so how to go about doing this?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 26, 2020 at 1:03 am

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comment.
      When you return to NZ you do not have to inform Medicare or anything else. You will just stop using their services.
      Have a lovely day.

      Reply
  13. Jay

    February 4, 2020 at 1:45 am

    Hi JJ, it’s a great website you’ve made here! Appreciate the info. My partner, my 6 month old baby and I are moving to Melbourne soon, and I’m trying to find out if we are all eligible for Medicare. We’re all New Zealand citizens with NZ passports. From what I can tell we would get visa on arrival? and then should be eligible to apply for Medicare?
    Thanks!
    Jay

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 4, 2020 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Jay,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes you will get automatically granted the digital SCV on arrival and with that are eligible to apply for Medicare.
      You will need to apply in person at a Medicare office after you arrive. There is no delay in utilizing Medicare once you’ve applied.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  14. Vanessa

    January 20, 2020 at 5:01 am

    Hi thank you for this informative webpage!
    I am about to go to Melbourne to commence my uni study and I have a few questions.

    Do you pay for medicare card as a uni student, and if you do how much will it cost?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 3, 2020 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Vanessa,
      Thank you for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      If you are moving to Australia on a SCV you are able to apply for a Medicare for free. You will need to apply in person in a Medicare Office. Please remember to take your passport.
      You can fill out this form before you go into the Medicare Office to save time: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/3101-1306en.pdf.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  15. Shoibvan

    November 4, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Hi there to get my Medicare card and other things am I able to use my Nz birth certificate? As the only identifications that I have is my passport and birth certificate.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      November 4, 2019 at 11:49 pm

      Hi Shoibvan,
      Thanks for your message.
      To apply for Medicare Australia card you need to satisfy to 100 Point Identification Check (https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/art/Documents/100-point-id-check.pdf)
      Primary documents: 70 points
      – Birth Certificate
      – Birth card issued by the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages
      – Citizenship Certificate
      – Current Australia Passport
      – Expired Australian Passport which has not been cancelled and was current within the preceding two years
      – Current passport from another country or diplomatic documents
      Secondary documents –must have a photograph and a name. The first item from this list is worth 40 points. Any additional items used are worth only 25 points each:
      – Current driver photo licence issued by an Australia state of territory
      – Identification card issued to a public employee
      – Identification card issued by the Australian or any state government as evidence of a person’s entitlement to a financial benefit
      – Identification card issued to a student at a tertiary education institution
      Document – must have name and address: 35 points
      – Document held by a cash dealer giving security over property
      – A mortgage or other instrument of security held by a financial body
      – Council rates notice
      – Document from current employer or previous employer within the last two years
      – Land Titles Office record
      – Document form the Credit Reference Association of Australia
      Document – must have name: 25 points
      – Current credit card of account card from a bank, building society or credit union
      – Current telephone, water, gas or electricity bill
      – Foreign driver’s licence
      – Medicare card
      – Electoral roll compiled by the Australian electoral Commission
      – Lease / rent agreement
      – Current rent receipt from a licensed real estate agent
      – Records of a primary, secondary or tertiary education institution attended by the applicant within the last 10 years
      – Records of a professional or trade association of which the applicant is a member
      According to the above you can use your passport, birth certificate and utility bill.
      If you are still unsure you can contact Medicare: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/contact-us.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  16. Gina Barrell

    October 23, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Hi there
    Firstly, thank you for your website…it’s sooo helpful.
    My son and I are moving to GC in January.
    Just an enquiry about Medicare…does that cover dentists do you know?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 23, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Gina,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Children in New Zealand who meet the eligibility criteria for publicly funded health and disability services are entitled to free basic oral health services from birth to 17 years of age (until their 18th birthday).
      You have to pay privately for the majority of adult dental services. A limited range of dental services are funded for some adults:
      – People with disabilities or medical conditions such as mouth cancer may be referred to a hospital for their dental treatment by their usual dental practitioner or GP.
      – People on low incomes who have a Community Services Card may be able to get emergency dental care, such as pain relief or extractions.
      Here is a good article to read: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/health-care-services/visiting-dentist/publicly-funded-dental-care.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  17. Karu

    October 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    You are r dong an excellent service. The advice to open an account with a exchange company to transfer money helped me a lot to save a substantial amount of money.
    Now we are on the next step of the process.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 9, 2019 at 12:11 am

      Hi Karu,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I’m so glad to hear you took the advice and saved your hard earned cash!
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  18. Fawzan

    September 10, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Hi,
    I’m a Kiwi looking to move to Melbourne and wife is in Melbourne on student Visa (Sri Lankan). We want to have a baby soon. I am wondering if she will be eligible when she gets pregnant as I’m Kiwi.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      September 11, 2019 at 12:31 am

      Hi Fawzan,
      Thanks for your comment, but unfortunately I am not an immigration specialist and can’t help.
      You can find an immigration specialist on the Australian Government website, Migration Agents Registration Authority (https://www.mara.gov.au/). Search Auckland for advisers specialising in Australia.
      However, you may be able to find the answer on the Australian Government – Department of Immigration and Citizenship website (http://www.immi.gov.au).
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Sorry I could not be of more help.

      Reply
  19. Catrina Rooseboom deVries

    July 26, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Hi i am moving to brisbane from nz and i wanted to know, do i need a medicare card before i get a job? I hope to set a job up for me before i leave. I am a qualified healthcare assistant. Is there anything else i may need before i get a job also?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      August 12, 2019 at 1:15 am

      Hi Catrina,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
      You don’t need a Medicare card before you start work. You will need to apply in person at a Medicare office in Australia. It is recommended you wait one week after your arrival in Australia before applying, to allow time for Medicare to receive your visa details from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Make sure you take your passport with you.
      You should apply for a tax file number as soon as you arrive in Australia. You are not able to apply from New Zealand. You can apply online here: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/tax-file-number/apply-for-a-tfn/foreign-passport-holders,-permanent-migrants-and-temporary-visitors—tfn-application/.
      You can apply for a tax file number online if you meet these three conditions:
      – You are a foreign passport holder, permanent migrant or temporary visitor.
      – You are already in Australia.
      – Your visa is one of the following:
      – a permanent migrant visa
      – a visa with work rights
      – an overseas student visa
      – a visa allowing you to stay in Australian indefinitely (including New Zealanders automatically granted a visa on arrival).
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  20. Chris

    June 26, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Hi there we are looking to move to Queensland from Christchurch. My wife is under the care of the neurosurgery department at our local hospital. She has a large high grade spetzler martin avm in her brain and requires multiple procedures on her brain over a period of years, she is otherwise healthy can work but is unable to drive. I’m wondering if she would qualify for Medicare and be able to have these procedures in Australia. Thank you for any help you can offer. Thanks, Chris

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 26, 2019 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Chris,
      Thank you for your email.
      I have read all info regarding eligibility for applying for a Medicare card and it doesn’t state anywhere about existing conditions getting taken into consideration. So you will be able to apply when you arrive in Australia.
      I can’t find any information regarding treatment of high grade spetzler martin avm in Australia.
      I recommend you talk to the neurosurgery department at your local hospital and see what they think.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  21. Cara

    May 7, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Hi there
    My family and I are moving to Cairns in the next few months. I am currently looking into a few things and wonder if you could help me, or point me in the right direction.
    We have a baby girl who is currently 8 weeks old, and I’m wondering if there is any equivalent of Plunket in Australia? Or, if not, who I would talk to about what vaccinations she would need in Australia, and who to go to for questions about raising children and tracking her development.
    I have read the information about Medicare on your website, so that’s good at least.
    Thanks
    Cara

    Reply
  22. Rob

    February 21, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Hi there,
    first off thank you for such an awesome site!.My 23yr old son is moving to Brisbane early March and I just want to know how he can get his monthly prescriptions tranferred to Australia?
    Will he need to find a Doctor in his area in Oz first?,also transfer of medical records.
    Can you advise me on what he has to do please,
    Kind regards
    Rob 🙂

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 21, 2019 at 12:54 am

      Hi Rob,
      Thank you for your email.
      Your son will need to request a copy of his medical records from his doctor and give them to his new doctor in Australia. It should be quite a straight forward process and he shouldn’t hit any hurdles, as long as he has his records.
      However, before he visits his new doctor he should obtain a Medicare card. He will need to apply in person in a Medicare Office. He will need to take his passport. He can fill out this form before he goes into the Medicare Office to save time: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/3101-1306en.pdf.
      Here is all the information he will need for Medicare enrollment for New Zealand Citizens: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/medicare-enrolment-new-zealand-citizens.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
      • Rob

        February 21, 2019 at 2:50 am

        Thanks Johanna much appreciated. Keep up the great work and thanks for your time.
        Cheers

        Reply
  23. Sharon

    January 4, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Hi. I have lived in Adelaide for 15 years moved back to NZ just over 2 years ago.still own property in Adelaide. My older daughter now has a head injury since returning to NZ. what medical help can she get when we return or is there a stand down period ? She cant work yet but is recovering slowly.
    Sharon

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      January 4, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Sharon,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      This is not really me field and I recommend you contact Medicare direct. However, as you have only been in NZ for two years and I’m guessing are still Australian Citizens, you should get the same care as you would have before moving.
      I wish your daughter a speedy recovery.

      Reply
  24. Michelle

    June 29, 2017 at 3:08 am

    We are Kiwis moving to Brisbane Australia in November. Myself and my four teenagers. what is the appropriate and fastest way to apply for this?
    Many thanks
    Michelle

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.