Medicare is the health insurance that all Australian citizens and those who own or are waiting for a permanent residence visa are entitled to. The Medicare system is publicly funded through a portion of the salary of Australian workers, whether they are reified or not. However, coverage is not complete.
The Medicare services offered can be summarized as follows:
- Comprehensive coverage for general medical services in public facilities
- Complete coverage for hospitalization in public hospitals
- 85% coverage for non-fusion services from the hospital – specialist visits for example
- Discount on the list price for some medicines purchased by presenting the Medicare card
Some visas, such as the Working Holiday Visa, give Medicare the right. Italian citizens, thanks to a bilateral agreement between Australia and Italy, can take advantage of free health insurance for the first six months from the entry date. This insurance includes the basic services in the clinic, hospitalization.
Once the six months have passed since your arrival, you have two options:
- Get out of Australia on holiday and return by the deadline of your visa (in this way the 6 months will be reactivated by presenting you again at one of the Medicare offices)
- Take out a private policy to be covered for the remaining months of the visa
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR STUDENT VISA
Unlike the Working Holiday Visa, for the student visa it is obligatory to take out health insurance for the entire duration of the visa, paying it in a single solution before the visa request.
If, for various reasons, you leave the country before your visa expires, the insurance will reimburse the remaining fee for the period not used.
The health insurance for international students of all courses, professional institutes and universities is OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) which covers some medical treatments such as hospitalization, general practitioner and emergency ambulance transport.
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR VISA SPONSOR 457
Anyone who holds a 457 visa, and is therefore sponsored by an Australian employer, must also take out a private health insurance in order to obtain a visa.
WHAT THE MEDICARE DOES NOT COVER
Once you have acquired the right to Medicare, you will benefit from a valid health cover for illnesses and injuries that will occur during your stay in Australia. Pre-existing illnesses and disorders, therefore, will not be covered and if further controls or therapies are needed, private health insurance or the costs must be covered through one’s own funds.
Also, medical services not covered by Medicare are:
- Ambulance services
- Medicines not subsidized by the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)
- Organized treatments before arriving in Australia
- Accommodation and medical care in a private hospital
- Accommodation and medical care as a private patient in a public hospital
- Examinations and dental treatments (except for specific cases introduced for combined health services as part of the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program)
- Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, ocular therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology (except for specific cases introduced for joint health services as part of the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program
- Acupuncture (unless it is part of a doctor’s consultation)
- Glasses and contact lenses
- Hearing aids and other appliances
- The cost of prostheses
- Medical expenses for which you are responsible for someone else (for example, an employer or the government)
- Medical services that are not clinically necessary
- Surgery solely for aesthetic reasons
- Exams for life insurance or pension fund
- Eye therapy
- Stay at nursing homes
HOW CAN I OBTAIN MEDICATION
Once it is established that we meet the requirements to use Medicare, the procedure to obtain it is very simple:
- Go to any Medicare center in Australia with your passport, visa and European health card
- You will need to complete a registration form which you will find in the Medicare office or downloadable from home
- It is important to have a valid Australian residence address to receive the Medicare card by mail (the deadlines are approximately 2/3 weeks). In the meantime, you can use a coupon issued directly by the Medicare offices indicating the provisional number of your card and which you can use immediately to use the Medicare services.