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The Australian Medicare System

2013 June 18
by Scott

If like me, you are used to the cushy life of the NHS in England, it might give you a little wake up call when you move to Australia. Everything costs money. A lot too..

The healthcare system in oz is very good, but is largely privatised or exclusive only to Australian nationals, which makes things difficult for travellers like me. Either that or the waiting lists for public treatment are humongous. They do however use the Medicare system (formerly EHIC), which allows for some rebates on treatment.

This means that much of the treatment you receive can is subsidised by the government, so you can claim back a percentage of your costs, post treatment.

If, like me, you require urgent treatment (in my case 4 wisdom teeth out!) then your pretty much screwed. Public dentistry treatment queues are months or even years long, so often you will have to go private and try and claim what you can back with medicare. However Medicare does usually cover:

  •  Free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists, dentists and other allied health practitioners (in special circumstances only)
  • Free treatment and accommodation as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital
  • 75 per cent of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital (does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines)
  • Some health care services in certain countries (although be sure to check which countries are valid with Medicare!)

Full information can be found here :

The details:

For those travelling to Australia from around the world – Medicare is a reciprocal system that is signed with people from:

  1. New Zealand
  2. The United Kingdom
  3. The Republic of Ireland
  4. Sweden
  5. the Netherlands
  6. Belgium
  7. Finland
  8. Italy
  9. Malta
  10. Norway
  11. Slovenia

If you are from one of these countries, i would suggest registering immediately for a Medicare number. Just find the nearest office here and sign up straight away. Good luck peeps and let me know how you get on!

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. June 24, 2013

    Most people pay out of pocket for all dental expenses in Australia. Many get private insurance for dental.

    You can get travel insurance for that – highly recommended when travelling to Australia.

    • Scott permalink*
      June 29, 2013

      Thanks for the pointers Andrea – i learnt all this the hard way!

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