Participating RHCA countries

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

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.

Belgium

Your entitlements

You're entitled to hospital, medical, pharmaceutical, some allied services and ambulance during your stay. Varying patient charges apply for all services.

You'll need to pay for the treatment or service and take the receipt and your Medicare card to any health insurance fund for reimbursement. A list can be found at www.inami.fgov.be

If you're staying in Belgium for more than a year, you should register with a health insurance fund. You'll be issued an SIS card. This card can be used at the health insurance fund to claim for medical treatment. It can also be used at hospitals and pharmacies to directly bill expenses to your fund.

What is covered?

  • Medical treatment by general practitioners, and by specialists and some dental and allied health services such as physiotherapy if you're referred by a doctor. You'll need to pay between 25-40 per cent of the cost.
  • Hospital services are partially reimbursed.
  • Reimbursement of pharmaceutical medicines (depending on their category).
  • Ambulance travel is subsidised by 33 per cent.

What is not covered?

  • You'll have to pay a charge for admission, a small daily fee and co-payments on health services provided in a hospital.
  • Some pharmaceutical medicines.

Finland

Your entitlements

  • You are entitled to limited subsidised health care when you visit Finland.
  • A small fee is charged for all treatments.
  • Free services for children aged 15 years and under.
  • Necessary out-patient medical treatment as well as nursing care from health centres.
  • Dental care available in some centres.
  • Treatment at any out-patient department of a hospital, either by visiting it directly or with an admission note from a doctor.
  • A refund after treatment if you visit a private doctor or dentist and pay the fee first. Refunds are available from a local insurance office listed in the telephone book under KELA-paikallistoimisto(t).
  • Prescription medicine costs from pharmacies (Apteekki) and travel costs incurred in seeking medical treatment may be payable. A local insurance office will confirm payments required.
  • Refunded costs for dental care if you were born in 1956 or later.

You will find details of health centres in the local telephone directory under the name Terveysasemat or Terveyskeskus.

What is not covered?

  • A small daily non-refundable accommodation fee is charged for in-patient treatment in hospital.
  • The out-patient departments provide specialist treatment. A small non-refundable fee is charged for this service.
  • Costs for dental care for people born before 1956.

Italy

Your entitlements

You are entitled to subsidised health care for a period of up to six months from your date of arrival. The National Health Service (Servixio Sanitaria Nazionale) provides medical treatment at participating hospitals, clinics and authorised medical centres (conventionati). If you need medical treatment go to the nearest local health centre (Unita Sanitaria Locale - USL).

The address of all USLs can be found in the telephone directory or by asking at police stations, tourist offices or hotels.

What is covered?

  • Medical treatment, including specialist services at public or other authorised hospitals and clinics.
  • Treatment as a hospital patient in public and authorised hospitals only.
  • Immediately necessary dental treatment at public hospitals.

What is not covered?

You may need to pay for medicine, diagnostics and other tests.

Malta

Your entitlements

You are entitled to subsidised health care for up to six months from your date of arrival. If you need medical attention contact or visit a health centre.

What is covered?

  • Medical attention at a health centre provided by a doctor in government service.
  • Nursing care (such as injections or dressings) provided by a nurse in government service on the advice of a doctor.
  • In-patient care including operations, medicine, nursing care, accommodation and meals.
  • Hospital out-patient consultations provided by specialists in government service.
  • Ambulance travel from site to hospital in the case of accidents and emergencies.
  • Immediately necessary dental care provided in a government hospital.

What is not covered?

The cost of fillings, dental prostheses or appliances.

Netherlands

Your entitlements

You are entitled to free access to the public health care system for up to 12 months. In certain cases, this entitlement may be extended.

You will need a certificate of eligibility. You can get this before leaving Australia, or when you arrive in the Netherlands, by forwarding the following documents to the health care insurer address shown below.

Zilveren Kruis
Groep Buitenlands Recht
Postbus 650
7300 AR Apeldoorn Netherlands

Call +31 (0)33 445 6870
Fax +31 33 445 53 54

You may choose a doctor who is affiliated with a health care insurer (ziekenfonds). The local health care insurer can give you the names and addresses of affiliated doctors.

What is covered?

  • Third class accommodation in hospitals.
  • The cost of medicine is refunded if prescribed by a doctor - a certificate of eligibility is required by the pharmacy (apotheek).
  • Ambulance and taxi charges are partially refunded when medically necessary. A certificate of eligibility is required, plus receipts and a statement from the doctor regarding the need for such transport.

What is not covered?

If you are hospitalised in first or second class accommodation, you will be charged the difference, plus nursing, specialist care and sundry charges.

New Zealand

Your entitlements

You are entitled to limited subsidised health care when you visit New Zealand.

What is covered?

  • In-patient treatment and accommodation at a public hospital during your stay.

What is not covered?

  • You will have to pay the full cost for all other medical treatment, public hospital out-patient treatment and prescription medicine. Children's services are charged at a reduced rate.
  • For prescription medicine you will be charged the same rate as non-concession cardholders. When you have paid for 20 prescriptions in one year, a Prescription Subsidy card will be issued which entitles you to reduced medicine costs.

Norway

Your entitlements

You are entitled to subsidised health care during your stay. You do not need to enrol in the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) in Norway.

Always advise the doctor that you want to be treated as a NIS patient.

What is covered?

  • Medical treatment from a NIS general practitioner or out-patient department.
  • Specialist services when referred by a general practitioner.
  • Hospital in-patient treatment.
  • Ambulance travel.
  • Emergency dental treatment.
  • Ancillary care when prescribed by a doctor.
  • Prescription medicine - full price until approximately $250 is spent in one year. It is free thereafter. You must keep track of all expenditure.
  • Services for children under seven years are free.
  • There is no charge for hospital in-patient treatment.

What is not covered?

  • Varying charges apply for all services.
  • NIS registered doctors charge a reduced fee.
  • The majority of doctors in Norway are with the NIS but those that are not will charge a full fee.

For enquiries contact an office of the National Insurance Scheme of Norway.

Republic of Ireland

Your entitlements

Ireland's health scheme provides benefits for hospital treatment during your stay, but not for private medical services or prescription medicine.

What is covered?

  • Public hospital care is available for a small fee for the first 10 days of your stay in any year and then it is free thereafter. A fee is charged for attendance at out-patient or accident and emergency departments if you are not referred by a doctor.

What is not covered?

  • You will have to pay the full cost of visits to private doctors.
  • A fee is charged for prescription medicines. After a certain amount has been spent during each month the Health Board refunds additional charges under the Drugs Payments Scheme.

Slovenia

Your entitlements

You are eligible for essential medical treatment during your stay. Slovenia's health care system provides benefits for hospital,medical, pharmaceutical, dental and ambulance services. There are patient co-payments on some services, depending on medical necessity.

To receive medical treatment under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement you will need to present your passport and Medicare card.

What is covered?

  • Subsidised medical treatment in the public health system - in hospitals, health centres and pharmacies
  • Subsidised medical treatment by private GPs, specialists, dentists and pharmacies contracted to the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (HIIS)
  • Ambulance travel is free if referred by a doctor in an emergency, otherwise you will need to pay 90% of the cost
  • Reimbursement of prescription medicines is determined by the category of the medicine - positive, interim or negative. Patient co-payments are 30% of the price for positive and 90% for interim

What is not covered?

  • Medical treatment by a GP, specialist or dentist who is not contracted to the HIIS - full fees will apply
  • Prescription medicines in the negative category are not subsidised and patients must pay the full price

Sweden

Your entitlements

Sweden's health scheme provides benefits for medical, hospital and some ancillary services during your stay. Varying charges apply for all services. Charges are reduced for children.

What is covered?

  • Medical treatment by any doctor or out-patient department of a hospital.
  • A visit to a private doctor who is affiliated with the Social Security Scheme will cost slightly more.
  • Some travel costs incurred to get medical treatment may be refunded by the National Social Insurance Board of Sweden (Forsakringskassan). Contact an office of the insurance board for full details.

What is not covered?

  • There is a small daily fee for hospital in-patient care.
  • There are varying charges for hospital out-patient treatment and visits to a doctor.
  • Charges are reduced for children.
  • Full price is charged for prescription medicine.

For full details contact an office of the National Social Insurance Board of Sweden (Forsakringskassan).

United Kingdom

Your entitlements

You are entitled to subsidised health care during your stay. The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. You do not need to enrol in the NHS.

Always advise the doctor that you want to be treated as a NHS patient. Doctors in the United Kingdom do not have to accept a patient for treatment under the NHS. They can request a private consultation fee when a rebate is not available.

If you do not want to pay a private consultation fee you will need to get treatment from a doctor who is prepared to treat you under the NHS, or from the out-patient section of a public hospital.

What is covered?

  • Medical treatment and other services normally provided by a doctor to NHS patients.
  • In-patient treatment including medicine, nursing care and accommodation in a public ward of a NHS hospital.
  • Out-patient treatment in a NHS hospital.
  • NHS prescription medicine where the doctor treats you as a NHS patient (a small fee is charged).
  • Ambulance travel to and from or between NHS hospitals and other facilities operating under the NHS Scheme.

What is not covered?

  • Non-subsidised medicine from retail pharmacies.
  • Medicine prescribed by the doctor treating you as a private patient.
  • All treatment and appliances provided by NHS dentists and for dental appliances supplied to out-patients at NHS hospitals.

Benefits and services vary on the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark). If you plan to visit these areas check your entitlements before leaving the mainland.

More information

For more information on Reciprocal Health Care Agreements, call the Travelling with PBS medicine enquiry line on 1800 500 147, or call the Department of Human Services general enquiry line on 132 290.

For more information about travelling overseas, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade smartraveller website.

Page last updated: 18 April 2016

This information was printed Monday 26 September 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/participating-rhca-countries It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.