Australian Medicare – Are you eligible?

What is Medicare?

Medicare is an Australian public healthcare scheme which enables certain individuals to claim health care which is government funded, such as bulk-billed doctor visits and free treatments in public hospitals. Medicare also coincides with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which provides a subsidy in the cost of some pharmaceutical medicines.

Who can apply to enrol in Medicare?

You may apply to enrol in Medicare if you are an Australian resident.

Who is classified as an Australian resident?

  • An Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen; or,
  • Someone who has applied for an Australian permanent visa while onshore; and
  • Currently holds a temporary visa or a bridging visa

The meaning of ‘Australian resident’ will be satisfied if any of the above situations apply, excluding applicants who have applied for a parent/contributory parent visa, unless they have reciprocal health care through Medicare.

Note: If your permanent residence visa application is refused, you can still be eligible for Medicare once you have lodged your review application at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (find out more visa refusals and Tribunal appeals here).

You have a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHCA), can you still enrol?

Yes, if you are covered by a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement you may still enrol in Medicare, as long as you satisfy the above requirements of an Australian resident.

What will you need to apply?

Applications are made to the Department of Human Services (DHS), with the following documentation for each applicant:

  • Completed Medicare enrolment form (available from DHS website)
  • Identity documents such as your birth certificate
  • Travel documents such as your passport
  • Information to prove your current visa status, such as:
    • Acknowledgement of application received
    • Visa grant notification
    • VEVO print out showing your current visa status

Leaving Australia after you have already enrolled?

After enrolling in Medicare, if you decide to leave Australia you will only remain enrolled for a period of 12 months, starting from the date you first left. If this is the case, upon returning, you will need to re-enrol in order to be covered.


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