Learn About the Australia Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats
Australia has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. This is because the healthcare system in the country is phenomenal. The cost of medical treatments in Australia is significantly lower than what it would cost in the U.S for the same procedures. Healthcare in Australia is a combination of public and private healthcare services. It has a publicly funded, universal healthcare system. Australian citizens and permanent residents are entitled to Medicare. However, it is not accessible to expats with temporary visas. Here’s what you need to know about the Australia healthcare system and medical insurance options for expats.
Private health insurance plans are mandatory for expats in Australia. Expats living and residing in the country for work temporarily can access medical facilities in both the private and public sectors. However, they will have to bear the expenses for everything, including the doctor’s visit and admission during an emergency.
Overview of Healthcare in Australia
Medicare is available to all the citizens and permanent residents of the country. Medicare covers all the treatment that takes place in public hospitals. This also includes complete or partial consultations from doctors. Expats seeking to access Medicare need to register themselves with their passport, travel documents, and permanent visa to procure a Medicare card. It can take anywhere between three weeks and a month to get one. To see a specialist and get the expenses of the consultation and procedures covered, expats, global citizens, and digital nomads should first get a referral from a general practitioner.
How the Australia Healthcare System Works for Expats
Expats can access assistance for essential medical treatment in Australia, but it is only meant to provide coverage for short stays. It is not a long-term solution for expats residing permanently in the country. The public healthcare system includes community-based services, public hospitals, and government-owned health organizations. Expats who seek to register with the public healthcare system must do so within a week of arrival in the country.
Public Healthcare in Australia
Public healthcare in Australia covers primary healthcare and essential medical costs. However, most expats are not eligible to reap the benefits out of Medicare. It does not cover the cost of prescription drugs, visits to the dentist, an ENT specialist, and physiotherapy, among others. Every individual residing in the country on a permanent visa is eligible for public healthcare. However, expats or those who are temporary visa holders need to opt for an international private health insurance plan. To encourage citizens and residents to purchase health insurance policies, the Government of Australia provides financial incentives. Those who are not eligible for Medicare will not be able to benefit from these schemes.
Private Healthcare in Australia
A large population of this continent has access to some form of private insurance health cover. Private healthcare packages cover surgery and other severe conditions with the increased use of private facilities, demand, and dependence on public facilities decrease. Occasionally, Medicare does offer rebates to residents who choose private facilities over public facilities. Expats moving to Australia need to provide evidence to the Australian authorities that they have a comprehensive health insurance plan to be granted their visa.
Emergency medical services in Australia
You should dial 000 in case of an emergency. Medicare does not always cover the cost of ambulance rides, be it for expats or permanent residents and citizens of the country. Hence, we encourage expats to secure private health insurance.
Medicines and Pharmacies
In the larger cities of Australia, pharmacies are easy to find. They remain open till late or round the clock. Since brand names vary from country to country, expats should be aware of the generic name of any chronic medication before arriving in the country.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Australia
Most international companies offer private expat health insurance plans at competitive costs. Public and private healthcare can be boosted with an international health insurance cover that provides medical airlifting and overseas evacuation in case of an emergency. Choose the most popular international insurance plans offered by Cigna Global and Allianz International. The healthcare institutions of Australia mostly recognize them.