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Healthcare in Australia

Healthcare in Australia is a hybrid of both public and private service. Most people who come to live and work in Australia will have to pay for healthcare, although there are exceptions: the UK is part of  the Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) where healthcare can be free or subsidised. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the healthcare in when moving to Australia.

Best Health Insurance Australia

Private health insurance in Australia is now compulsory for some visa holders, besides the fact that not all expats are eligible for Medicare, as it’s necessary to apply for permanent residency. Whatever your situation is, private health insurance can help cover those costs basic healthcare doesn’t. Give a look at these health insurance companies for your move to Australia!

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1. Bupa

Bupa is a UK-based healthcare company with an international presence and a strong commitment to personalized care. With a large network of medical professionals, they provide quality healthcare services for overseas workers from basic, intermediate to comprehensive cover with extras.

Trusted New Zealand health insurance company that offers comprehensive coverage.

2. Medibank Private

As one of the leading private health insurers in Australia, Medibank offers various plans depending on your needs – hospital cover, extra or combined policies. Those moving to Australia to work or live can benefit from their Overseas Workers Health Cover. This insurance plan not only meets the visa health insurance requirements but also helps cover the costs of the medical treatments you may need.

3. Now Health International

Now Health International offers the best of both worlds: affordable and comprehensive. They have lower premiums than other insurance companies, but they still provide the same level of coverage. With their network of providers in over 200 countries, you can be sure that you will be able to get the care you need, worldwide.

4. IMAN Australian Health Plans

For over 30 years, these health insurance have been offering specialized plans tailored for overseas workers relocating to Australia, helping people meet the country’s health insurance requirements. They mainly have two policy options: a budget-friendly plan with basic coverage and a high-level hospital cover.

5. Cigna Global

Cigna Global is a global leader in international health insurance. Known for their flexible policies, they offer different coverage levels, including medical, dental, and vision. They have excellent customer service, with professionals available to help you 24/7.

If none convinced you, our partner International Citizens Insurance can help you find the best plan for your needs. Get free quotes from multiple companies and compare plans side-by-side.

Is Healthcare in Australia Required?

To receive a grant for a visa when moving to Australia to live and work, it is mandatory to prove to the Australian authorities you have the minimum level of private health insurance. In Australia, basic healthcare is called Medicare. Health care in Australia is approximately 70% funded by the government, the other 30% is covered by the states and territories of Australia. Even if part of a health agreement, such as RHCA expats are still required to take out health insurance cover to qualify for the visa.


The Medicare scheme provides free care in public hospitals and also to subsidised medicines. Medicare costs vary depending on the level of your income. Every resident in Australia has access to Medicare, as an expat you must sign up within 7-10 days of your arrival if wanting to take advantage of their health care. You will then receive a Medicare card within 3 weeks.

Private health insurance

Over half of the residents in Australia have private health care insurance which is a supplement to Medicare. Most residents take out the extra insurance to cover certain aspects that Medicare doesn’t cover, such as optical care, physiotherapy and dentists.

Health Insurance in Australia

Because Australia is not an EU country, you are not covered with your EHIC card. You will have to make automatic use of Medicare, the basic health insurance in Australia. You can request a free Medicare card in one of the Medicare offices in Australia. This is similar to a health insurance card and allows you to access free medical care. To apply for this, you need:

  • European Health Insurance Card
  • Valid passport and visa

Private healthcare

Medicare does not cover all costs; therefore private insurance is recommended. The largest insurers in Australia include:

  • Hospital Contribution  Fund (HCF)
  • Medibank Private
  • Medical Benefit Funds  (MBF)
  • National Mutual Health Insurance

Public healthcare

Medicare covers the following costs:

  • free treatment and stay in a public hospital;
  • partial financing of certain medications;
  • partially offset the cost of medical care for example, by a doctor or specialist.

healthcare in Australia

Reciprocal Health Agreements

Expats who originate from countries that have reciprocal health agreements (RHCA), such as the UK, with Australia can receive:

  • Free treatment at a public hospital either as an in-patient or outpatient
  • Subsidised medicines
  • Medical treatment by doctors at surgeries and community health centres

When a tourist is in Australia the government won’t allow visitors from certain countries, including the UK, access to Medicare health care due to the RHCA. A person must have permanent residence before they can apply for Medicare

Do you want to continue preparing for your move to Australia? We at Sirelo make it easy for you 😉 We recommend that you start by taking a look at the articles we have linked for you below –they will be of great help!