Is Healthcare / Medicare Free in Australia?

Written by: David Scott

Table of Contents

    What is not covered by Medicare Australia?

    Wherever we live around the world, healthcare is an essential part of our every-days. As we are all mortal people, we may agree that our responsibility is to take a good care of the body we got to live with. Our body can get ill, broken or weak; but what is the best we can do for its healing? Where is the best place to turn to in need? And, obviously… how deep should we dive in our pocket for relief?

    If you reside in such a beautiful continent as Australia, this article was written to give you answers regarding this topic. 

    Well, I have got some good news for you: you stay at the place which healthcare system is one of the best ones ever. Its well-coverage and affordability helps you and your family to live a long, full life.  To be more exact – supported by official life-expectancy researches – you may live one the longest lives there. I do mean it.

    It sounds good, doesn’t it? 

    Who is entitled to have the advantage of this excellence? 

    Basically, this privilege belongs to Australian and New-Zealand citizens or people with permanent residential status. Moreover, due to the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, during visiting Australia, you can receive certain health-services – e.g. emergency care or medical treatment in case of urgent illness / injury –  as a citizen of Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden or the Republic of Ireland. 

    As a matter of fact, if you visit one of these countries above as an Australian citizen, you are authorised to the same health provision.

    Remember; in both cases, you still need to get your own travel health insurance.

    How much do you have to pay for this high-quality service? 

    The „biggest ship”  – which has been carrying the most since 1984 – is called Medicare. It has 3 main extensional segments:

    • medical services
    • public hospitals
    • medicines

    Medicare covers all the cost of public hospital services and several type of health services, for instance services provided by General Practitioner or medical specialists. In addition, you can visit physiotherapists, community nurses and patients can get basic dental-care within the frame of Medicare. The other benefit is the so-called Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which makes some medicines cheaper. 

    What is not covered by Medicare? 

    Besides its dependability, Medicare does not support anything. Please see the list of services not covered by Medicare below: 

    Long-term care

    Medical or non-medical care for those who are incapable of doing basic daily / hygienic activities without assistance. This can be provided either at their homes or at nursing homes regardless of their age.

    Additional dental care

    Only basic dental care is covered by Medicare – including denture-services.

    Eye examinations

    Related to prescribing glasses.

    Aesthetically / cosmetic surgeries

    Alternative medical treatments – e.g. acupuncture – treatments performed by ear-specialists and routine foot-care.

    Let’s talk about the private sector … 

    Many Australians choose to have a private health insurance to avoid long waiting periods and to get the access to completive services not given by Medicare.

    As a private patient, you have the right to: 

    • have your hospitalised period covered for almost all the costs of medical treatments
    • have an additional cover  for some services that are non-medical related are not covered by basic Medicare, for example: dental or physiotherapy and optical services.

    Some people take out both public and private health insurance.

    All in all, we can state whether travelling or living within Australia, you are surrounded by a comprehensive healthcare – system to make your life easier. However, do your best to avoid unnecessary troubles: live carefully and be conscious. So, take care of yourself!

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