Many of my clients ask me about Medicare, their eligibility, and how long it will last. I, Anna Molina, am a Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1461034) and am no expert in Medicare. However, as this is closely related to Migration, I can share with you a thing or two that I know from experience. Of course, please always refer back to the Government's website and information.
What is Medicare?
It provides access to a range of medicare services, lower cost prescriptions and free care as a public patient in a public hospital. You could get free/subsidized treatment by doctors, specialists, optometrists. Everything is listed out in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
What about my Private Health Insurance?
If you also have a private health insurance, you may be eligible for the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate on your premiums.
Do I have Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA)?
Some countries cover Australians for the costs of essential medical treatment while they are visiting those countries. And these agreements also provide some health services and subsidized medicines to visitors from those countries when they are in Australia.
The participating RHCA countries are: Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom. Note that the eligibility of persons from different countries vary.
Am I Eligible for Medicare?
To be eligible, you must be one of the following:
an Australian citizen who resides in Australia
a New Zealand citizen who resides in Australia
Someone who holds a Resident Return Visa who resides in Australia
An applicant for permanent residency status who resides in Australia, excluding parent visa, and
has permission to work, or
can prove a relationship to an Australian citizen/PR or with a New Zealand citizen who resides in Australia
A resident of a RHCA who is visiting Australia
Covered by a Ministerial Order
The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) exchange data of your visa application status and Medicare enrollment information.
Can I lose my Medicare? I have not been in Australia for many years.
Australian citizens can maintain their Medicare eligibility for up to 5 years from their departure from Australia (Ministerial Order No 781) as a residence.
Australian PR holders and New Zealand citizens who permanently resided in Australia may lose their Medicare eligibility when they are absent from Australia more than 12 months.
If it has been more than 12 months or 5 years since you have last resided in Australia, you will need to provide your passport and 2 acceptable residency documents or a Statutory Declaration.
I am holding a student visa and have applied for onshore Partner Visa, can I get Medicare?
It does not matter what visa you are holding, if you are an applicant for Australian PR and you either have permission to work in Australia OR have a spouse/parent/child that is an Australian citizen/PR, you should be eligible for Medicare. You do not need to wait until your student visa or visitor visa has expired to access Medicare.
I have applied for a PR offshore, am I eligible to access Medicare?
You will be eligible for Medicare from the date you arrive in Australia to reside, providing all eligibility criteria is met.
How about my baby that is born in Australia?
If you have Medicare, your baby that is born in Australia will automatically be enrolled in Medicare.
How do I apply and start claiming?
You can apply and start claiming on the Department of Human Service's website.
I hope this information was useful. Please feel free to share this to your friends and family. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61401543995, if you need assistance with your Australian Visa or Citizenship Applications.