Health insurance in Australia

Are you going to stay in Australia? Your personal situation will determine whether or not you are insured for healthcare costs.

We put together this information with great care. However, the rules are complicated and are subject to change. We cannot, therefore, guarantee that this information is correct and complete. We always advise to enquire about the rules which apply in your situation.

For more information, please take a look at the website of the Australian Department of Health.

How is healthcare organised in Australia?

Australia has a government-funded healthcare system for medical care called Medicare. The insurance is paid for by a tax surcharge (Medicare levy) and the general funds of the Australian federal government.

People with low incomes do not have to pay a tax surcharge. People with a high income who do not have private insurance, pay a higher surcharge.

In addition to Medicare, the costs of most medicines are covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Are foreigners eligible for Medicare?

If you are staying in Australia with a permanent residence permit, you will be covered by Medicare.

Medicare is also available to Dutch students going to Australia on a student visa. They must also take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This can be done via the educational institution in Australia. For more information, please take a look at the website of the Australian Department of Health.

Travellers from a limited number of countries - including the Netherlands - are eligible for limited Medicare cover even during a short stay in Australia.

How can I apply for Medicare?

If you have a permanent residence permit, you must register at a Medicare office after you have arrived in Australia. Processing your request takes about 10 days.

If you are only going to stay in Australia temporarily, then you will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to be eligible for restricted Medicare cover. You can apply to your Dutch health insurer for this card. It could still be sensible, however, to take out travel insurance with medical cover.

Which costs does Medicare cover?

Foreigners in Australia with a permanent residence permit are eligible for:

  • total or partial refund of costs for medical care by a General Practitioner or specialist
  • free treatment and stay in a public hospital
  • partial refund of the costs for specific medicines

If you are only going to stay in Australia temporarily, you will only be eligible for Medicare if you need medically necessary treatment. This means your ailment or complaint began in Australia and treatment cannot be postponed until your return to the Netherlands.

What should I look out for?

Medicare is not a replacement for travel insurance with medical cover (or supplementary health insurance). The cover is very limited for travellers who are staying in Australia without a permanent residence permit. It is also sensible to take the following into account:

  • You will not receive any refund for treatment and a stay in a private hospital or as a private patient in a public hospital
  • Medicare does not cover: maternity care, transport by ambulance, dentist, physiotherapy, prosthetics, glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids
  • Medicare only refunds medical care in Australia and a limited number of other countries; if you travel outside Australia, you will probably not be insured

What does Dutch national health insurance cover?

Your personal situation will determine whether or not you have to remain insured with Dutch national health insurance during your stay abroad

Dutch national health insurance refunds emergency care worldwide. However, you will never be refunded more than the treatment would cost in the Netherlands. You may, therefore, have to pay extra if you are staying in a country where medical care is expensive, such as Australia.

Repatriation (return to the Netherlands) due to illness or an accident is not covered by Dutch national health insurance.

What solution does OOM Verzekeringen offer?

OOM Verzekeringen specialises in medical insurance for a longer stay abroad. Our insurance is meant for those who are no longer eligible for Dutch national health insurance. They can also be a supplement for costs which are not covered by Dutch national health insurance or Medicare.

We offer:

  • a range of cover levels
  • flexible duration
  • 24/7 access to the Dutch-language emergency centre
  • an attractive discount if you also have Dutch national health insurance
  • extra cover, for example for household contents, liability and accidents

Where can I find more information?

Do you need more information?

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to help in any way we can!

Last revised: 11-10-2016