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Australia has reciprocal health care agreements with eight countries: New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Malta and Ireland. Under the agreements, residents of these countries have restricted access to Medicare while visiting Australia.
The agreements with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Malta provide free care as a public patient in public hospitals, subsidised out-of-hospital medical treatment, such as visiting a doctor, under Medicare and subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The agreement with New Zealand - from 1 September 1999 - and the agreement with Ireland provide free care as a public patient in public hospitals and subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, but do not cover out-of-hospital medical treatment.
Visitors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland are covered for the duration of their stay in Australia, while visitors from Italy and Malta are covered for a period of six months only.
Visitors from New Zealand and Ireland are not able to enrol in Medicare and may be required to produce alternative evidence of their eligibility such as a passport. Visitors from the remaining six countries may enrol at any Medicare office in Australia.
Before travelling to Australia contact your national health scheme to make sure you have the correct documents you will need to be eligible to enrol in Medicare. The agreements provide health care for immediately necessary treatment and do not cover treatment in a private hospital, treatment as a private patient in a public hospital, dental care, costs arising en route, elective treatment, ambulance services or allied health services. For some services covered by the agreements there may be an out of pocket cost. The agreements do not cover repatriation in the case of illness or injury. As the nature of the agreements vary, visitors may contact the Health Insurance Commission for further information.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|