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Health care in Australia

The federal and state governments of Australia have played an important role in advancing social services. There are benefits for people who are sick, aged, widowed, orphaned, disabled, or unemployed. A maternity allowance is paid to mothers irrespective of income, and a means-tested family allowance for all children under 16 years of age is payable to the parent or other person with custody. In 1984 the federal government introduced a universal health scheme known as Medicare, financed in part by a 1.25 per cent levy on taxable incomes above a stated minimum. It provides automatic entitlement to subsidized medical benefits and free hospital, in-patient, and outpatient care. A home and community care programme was initiated in 1985 to provide support services to help the elderly and disabled stay in their own homes.

The most famous aspect of Australia’s health services is the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides medical services for people in remote areas. The service covers two-thirds of Australia, with doctors operating from bases equipped with radio stations for communicating with distant stations and settlements, and a hospital, air-ambulance, and nursing staff. Australia has more than 2,500 hospitals and nursing homes and some 38,800 doctors.  

Family Health Care in Australia
Australian Medicare aims to provide a high quality of care and make health care affordable for all Australians.

This public health scheme gives you access to:

  • free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital, and
  • free or subsidised treatment by practitioners such as doctors, including some specialists and participating optometrists or dentists.

Australian Medicare is funded through taxation and you will make financial contributions to the scheme through your taxes and a Medicare levy which is based on your taxable income.
Enrolling with Medicare

If you have been granted permanent residency in Australia you need to enrol with Medicare after you arrive here.

You need to take your passport and travel documents to a local Medicare office and, if all the enrolment requirements are met, you will be given a Medicare number and your Medicare card will be posted to you about three weeks later.
Cost of treatment

Depending on what doctor you see you may have to pay for some of the cost of your treatment.

Some General Practitioners charge more than the Medicare schedule fee and you have to pay the difference. Some doctors bulk bill and you don't have to pay anything, but others charge you and you have to claim the cost back from Medicare.

Private health insurance in Australia
Australia is a world leader in healthcare delivery, education and research. Australian residents have access to a world-class universal public health system called Medicare.

However, not all people who come to Australia have access to Medicare and you will need to think about insuring your health and well-being while you are in transit and before arriving at your new home in Australia.

If you aren't an Australian or New Zealand citizen, and don't have permanent residency in Australia, you may be liable for the full costs of any medical treatment you need while you are here.
Reciprocal healthcare agreements

Australia has reciprocal healthcare agreements with several countries which provides visitors from those countries with access to free emergency medical care and subsidised medicines.

If you haven't yet been granted permanent residency in Australia or if you come here on a temporary visa, Working In Australia recommends that you purchase health insurance cover to protect you and your family. 

 
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