The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having access to healthcare in Australia. If you require medical treatment, the out-of-pocket costs can put you under financial strain. If you reside in Australia and hold a valid visa, read more to find out if you are eligible for Medicare.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is Australia’s health insurance scheme and allows access to a wide range of health and hospital services at low or no cost, including:
- medical services by doctors, specialists and other health professionals
- hospital treatment
- diagnostic imaging services such as ultrasound, CT scans, X-rays and MRI scans
- prescription medicines
The Australian government pays for Medicare through the Medicare levy. Working Australians pay the Medicare levy as part of their income tax.
Who Can Get Medicare?
Australian citizens and certain visa holders or visa applicants are eligible for Medicare benefits.
If you live in Australia and are a permanent resident or hold a resident return visa, you are eligible for Medicare.
Subclass 491 and 494 Visa Holders
If you live in Australia and hold a Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) visa or Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (subclass 494) visa, you are eligible for Medicare.
Visa Applicants for Permanent Residency
You are eligible for Medicare if you live in Australia and have lodged a visa application for a permanent visa and:
- the visa you have applied for has work rights, or
- you have a parent, spouse or child that is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen living in Australia
This includes if you have applied for a combined 309/100 or 820/801 partner visa.
You can enrol in Medicare from either:
- the date you applied for permanent residency or
- the date you arrived here to live if you applied outside Australia
Visa Applicants for Permanent Protection Visas
If you live in Australia and have applied for a permanent protection visa, you will be eligible for Medicare.
Other Temporary Visa Holders
You are eligible for Medicare if you hold any of the following visas:
- Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173, 143, 884, 864)
- Witness Protection (Trafficking) Temporary visa (subclass 787)
- Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program
- Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (subclass 786)
- Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785)
- Removal Pending Bridging visa (subclass 070)
- Illegal maritime arrivals holding a Bridging E (Class WE) visa
- Illegal maritime arrivals holding a Humanitarian Stay visa (subclass 449)
- Secondary Movement Offshore Entry visa XB (subclass 447)
- Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790)
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
If you are a citizen from the following countries that have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, you may be eligible for Medicare while in Australia:
- Malta or the Maltese Islands
- the Netherlands
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- United Kingdom
How to Apply for Medicare
- Complete the Medicare enrolment application form (MS004)
- Provide identity documents including current passport or Immicard
- Provide proof of your visa status including:
- Visa grant notification
- VEVO print out
- Proof from the Department of Home affairs that you’ve applied for permanent residency, such as an ‘Acknowledgement of application received’ letter
- Provide proof of your Australian citizen or Permanent Resident parent, spouse or child, including:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Joint bank, gas, water or electricity account statement
- Proof you own a home together
- Bring your completed application form and supporting documents to a Service Centre. Click here to find the service centre closest to you.
What if I am not eligible for Medicare?
If you are not covered by Medicare, we recommend taking up private health insurance with adequate benefit levels. Consider taking out the highest level of cover that you can afford.
Some visas require you to have adequate health insurance as a visa condition (8501). If you have this condition on your visa, you should maintain a health insurance policy that meets your visa requirements.
What if my permanent resident application is refused?
If you lodge an appeal, you can apply to stay enrolled in Medicare while on the bridging visa associated with the appeal.
If you haven’t lodged an appeal, you’re not eligible for Medicare. You may still have some cover under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement.
I have applied for a parent visa, am I eligible for Medicare?
You can’t enrol in Medicare if you’ve applied for an 804 or 103 parent visa.
You can enrol if either:
- you’ve applied for a contributory parent visa and have a temporary 173 or 884 visa
- you have a permanent contributory parent visa subclass 143 or 864.
You may be able to enrol if you have a temporary contributory parent visa.
Why did I used to get Medicare benefits but now I don’t?
If your previous application for a permanent visa was refused and you now hold a temporary visa, you will have lost your entitlement to Medicare.
If I applied for an offshore 309/100 partner visa and come into Australia on a visitor visa, am I eligible for Medicare?
If you come to Australia after lodging an offshore partner visa, you will be eligible for Medicare based on having an Australian spouse.
Can a bridging visa holder apply for Medicare?
If your bridging visa is associated with a visa application for permanent residency then you are eligible for Medicare. You are also eligible if your bridging visa is associated with an appeal for a refusal of a permanent visa application.
Do you need help?
Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.
Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.
If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through: