Public health service

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Medicare is a government health fund that provides access to medical and hospital services for all Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia.

Medicare covers:

  • free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists and, in specific circumstances, dentists and other allied health practitioners;
  • free treatment and accommodation as a public Medicare patient in a public hospital; and
  • a percentage of services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital. This does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines.

To access Medicare, you will need to enrol and be issued with a Medicare card. 

For more information, including eligibility details and enrolment information, visit the Medicare website or call 13 20 11.

Reciprocal healthcare agreements

Visitors or temporary residents of Australia may be eligible for some cover through Medicare if they are from a country with a reciprocal healthcare agreement. The Commonwealth Government has signed reciprocal healthcare agreements with the following countries:

  • United Kingdom;

  • the Republic of Ireland; 

  • New Zealand; 

  • Sweden; 

  • the Netherlands; 

  • Finland; 

  • Belgium; 

  • Norway; 

  • Slovenia; 

  • Malta; and 

  • Italy. 

Reciprocal agreements generally provide only ​limited access to immediate necessary medical treatment so you may wish to also obtain comprehensive visitors health insurance. 

For more information on reciprocal healthcare agreements, visit the
Medicare website​ or call 13 20 11.