Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Covers the cost of essential medical treatment for Australian residents travelling in some countries. Under these Agreements, some health services and subsidised medicines are provided to visitors from these countries when they are in Australia.

Health care while travelling overseas

While Medicare benefits are not available for medical treatment you receive overseas, the Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with some countries. You can get help with the cost of some medical treatments in these countries.

If you travel overseas you can get help with the cost of essential medical treatment in some countries under the Australian Government’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.

The Australian Government has agreements with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. These agreements mean:

  • Australian residents can get help with the cost of essential medical treatment when visiting these countries
  • residents of these countries can get some essential medical treatments while visiting Australia.

Students from Norway, Finland, Malta and the Republic of Ireland aren’t covered by agreements with those countries.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements aren’t designed to replace private travel health insurance for overseas travel.

You need to know

How to prove you are eligible for health care while travelling overseas

You will need to provide local authorities with:

  • your Australian passport, or another valid passport, which shows you are a permanent Australian resident
  • a valid Medicare card - if you do not have a valid Medicare card, or your card will expire while you are away, visit a DHS Service Centre before you travel overseas for a new card.

If you are travelling to the Netherlands you will also need to forward a completed Department of Healths A111 Certificate of Eligibility Application form to:

Agis Zorgverzekeringen
Afdeling Buitenland
Postbus 1725
3800 BS Amersfoort
Netherlands

It is important you tell medical staff in the country you are visiting that you want to be treated under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

Medicine

Medicine is not usually subsidised under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreements for Australian residents travelling overseas.  If you are planning to travel overseas with Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicine for you or someone travelling with you, it is important you:

  • talk to your doctor and discuss the medicine you need to take with you
  • contact the embassy of the country you are visiting to make sure the medicine is legal there
  • take a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be taking, and stating that it is for your personal use
  • leave the medicine in its original packaging so it is clearly labelled with your name and dosage instructions, or that of the person travelling with you.

Taking PBS medicine out of the country illegally may result in a fine of up to $5000 and/or two years imprisonment.

Health care for visitors to Australia

If you are visiting Australia from certain overseas countries, under Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with Australia you are entitled to some subsidised health services.

Read more about health care for visitors to Australia

Participating RHCA countries

If you are an Australian resident , you are entitled to some subsidised health care during your visit in participating RHCA countries.

Read more about your health care access in participating RHCA countries.

First steps

Enrolling in Medicare

If you know you need treatment, you can enrol for Medicare at a DHS Service Centre. If you receive treatment before you enrol, Medicare benefits will be back-paid for eligible visitors.

To enrol in Medicare you need:

  • your passport and a valid visa
  • to provide (in some cases) identification showing you are enrolled in your country’s national health scheme.

If your Medicare application is approved, you will receive an Australian reciprocal health care card in the mail.

Information for 405 and 410 Visa Holders

Ordinarily holders of these visas are not eligible for Medicare unless exceptional circumstances can be shown. The following information provides an outline of the criteria used when making an assessment in regards to exceptional circumstances.

Belgium Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Belgium Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Belgium Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Finland Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Finland Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Finland Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Italy Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Italy Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Italy Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Malta Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Malta Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Malta Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Netherlands Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Netherlands Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Netherlands Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Norway Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Norway Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Norway Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

Republic of Ireland Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Ireland Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Ireland Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Slovenia Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Slovenia Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Slovenia Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

Sweden Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-Sweden Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-Sweden Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.

United Kingdom Reciprocal Health Care Agreement and 405 and 410 retirement visa holders

This information is to assist 405 and 410 retirement visa holders in Australia to determine if the Australia-United Kingdom (UK) Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) applies to them.

Read more about the Australia-UK Reciprocal Health Care Agreement as it applies to 405 and 410 retirement visa holders.