Australian Immigration Health Requirements
The granting of a visa for permanent residence, provisional visas and some temporary residence visas in Australia, are subject to each applicant meeting a certain minimum health requirement. The exact health requirements vary from visa to visa, although will usually include a chest X-ray, an HIV/Aids test and a general medical. Visa requirements are constantly changing, so go to www.border.gov.au for the latest information on your particular visa.
The equivalent of the UK’s National Health Service, Medicare, came into being in 1984. Medicare covers a substantial chunk of possible medical bills, and the Australian government urge people to take out private health insurance to cover the inevitable shortfalls.
Who’s Eligible for Medicare?
• All citizens
• All permanent residents
• Visitors to Australia who can gain access via Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA), such as citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy and Malta.
• People who have a valid visa and their parent, child or spouse is either a permanent resident or a citizen of Australia.
Who Isn’t Eligible for Medicare?
• Foreign diplomats and their families
• Men over 55 and women over 51 who have been sponsored in the family migratory category, are the responsibility of their sponsors for ten years or until they reach retirement age.
• Retired people on temporary residence visas are not covered. Certain retirees on a permanent residence visa are eligible. Check the government website. Remember the Australian government are constantly changing the rules and regulations for healthcare and immigration.
What Medicare Gives you
• 100% cost of treatment as a hospital inpatient
• An 85% rebate on non-inpatient services, such as visits to a GP or a specialist.
• Partial cover for medicines
• Partial cover for diagnostic tests done by a GP
• Partial cover for specialists and consultants
• Eye tests performed by optometrists
What Medicare Doesn’t Cover
• Dental exams and treatment, although some dental surgery is covered
• Ambulance services
• Home nursing
• Occupational therapy
• Glasses and contact lenses
• Hearing aids
• Private hospital cover
• Medical repatriation and funeral costs
This is an excellent system which assists those people who need regular treatment and medication that isn’t fully covered by Medicare. When you or your family members have made enough payments in a financial year (1st July to 30th June), the Medicare Safety Net automatically kicks in. You are then eligible for a higher percentage refund on your medical expenses. The services covered by Medicare Safety Net include: –
• Blood tests
• CT scans
• Pap smears
• Psychology and Psychiatry
Enrolling in Medicare
Enrol in Medicare as soon as you arrived in Australia, although you can enrol retrospectively and get refunds on medical care already received. You can either go to a Medicare office personally or have a form sent to you. You will need to provide proof of your eligibility and details of your income, assets and residence. Your Medicare card should arrive within 2 to 3 weeks and it’s valid for 5 years.
Your Medicare card gives you the ability to: –
• Receive a cash benefit at a Medicare customer service centre
• Receive free or subsidised treatment from a doctor or optometrist who bulk bills Medicare
• Get free or subsidised treatment in a public hospital
• Get free or subsidised prescriptions
Private Health Care
There’s a range of private health care options and many Australians pay for private health care. It gives you the freedom to choose your doctor, specialist and hospital and also allows you to be hospitalised in your own room, with ensuite bathroom and TV etc.