Understanding Australian Healthcare Insurance As An Expat

When moving abroad, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to your well-being. Expats opting to move to Australia are often well looked after in this regard, with a report on healthcare standards in Vox rating the country 2nd out of 11 major countries. While the quality of care is not in question, expats who are ill prepared for the process and costs of obtaining healthcare in Australia can end up feeling it in the pocket. Understanding how the system works is therefore a crucial first step, and how insurance plays its part.

Medicare doesn’t cover it all

Australia has a range of reciprocal health agreements that benefit visitors from a range of countries, according to the Australian Department of Human Services. However, the countries covered are not predictable, and so it’s worth checking; for instance, many EU countries are covered, but not the EU as a whole. Furthermore, the healthcare covered by medicare is not all encompassing, with the likes of dentistry, ambulance rides and eye care not covered. It’s important, then, to have good quality health insurance, to ensure that you are able to cover the costs of any medical issues as they arise. This is especially important during your early years in Australia; medicare often won't cover the entire cost of many procedures, and it can be advantageous to have a health insurance no waiting policy so you are able to receive the care you need without sacrificing your financial health.

You can combine the systems

Medicare and private insurance work in tandem in Australia. The Australian Government Department of Health note this online, explaining how medicare will cover up to 75% of operations with the rest covered privately. There is an important caveat here – many insurers will have ‘pay gaps’ that neither medicare nor your insurer will recognise, meaning you need to pay out of pocket. Scrutinise your policy documents to check your understanding of your own policy.

Long residency brings benefits

Australian Home Affairs policy dictates that any person who has legally resided in Australia for 4 years can become a permanent resident. Once a resident, you can claim medicare and it’s full range of benefits, the key difference here being that, under a reciprocal health agreement, your healthcare is intended to be a temporary measure until you can be repatriated. Even then it’s beneficial to have life insurance, especially for high earners, as the government place a 1% levy on healthcare for earners above a certain bracket and you can cover this cost via private means.

Australia will look after you when you’re ill – the healthcare is some of the best going. While there are plenty of ways to obtain free healthcare, it’s prudent to ensure you have a private policy, too. As your residency lengthens, you may well scale it back; but it’s important to always have insurance on hand.


Posted By JenniferD

Updated : 13th May 2019 | Words : 471 | Views : 676

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