Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Agreements with 11 countries that covers the cost of medically necessary care when Australians visit certain countries and visitors from these countries visit Australia.

Australians

About reciprocal health care agreements

These are agreements with some countries where visitors can get publicly funded medically necessary care.

Countries we have an agreement with

We have agreements with:

If you live in Australia

You can get help with costs for medically necessary care when you visit any of those countries.

This includes:

  • emergency care
  • care for an illness or injury that can’t wait till you get home
You still need to get your own travel health insurance.

Medicine costs

Some agreement countries don’t cover the cost of medicine when you travel to them. Others will partly cover the cost of prescribed medicine.

Countries that don’t cover medicine costs

Under the agreement, your medicine costs aren’t covered if you travel to:

  • Italy, or
  • Norway – up to a set amount

Countries that partly cover prescribed medicine costs

Under the agreement, your prescribed medicine costs are partly covered if you travel to:

  • Belgium - conditions apply
  • Finland
  • Ireland - conditions apply
  • New Zealand - inpatient only
  • the Netherlands
  • Norway – over a set amount
  • Slovenia - conditions apply
  • Sweden
  • the United Kingdom - conditions apply

Read more about travelling with prescription medicine.

How to prove you’re eligible

You’ll need to prove you’re from Australia and eligible for Medicare when you’re in another country.

When you are in another country

Ask staff at the hospital or doctor to treat you under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

You’ll need to show:

  • your Australian passport or another valid passport, which shows you are a permanent Australian resident, and
  • your current Medicare card
If your Medicare card’s out of date, or will expire while you’re away, contact us before you go overseas to get a new Medicare card before you travel overseas.

In the Netherlands

If you are travelling to the Netherlands you also need to fill in the Application for an A111 Certificate of eligibility form. Post it to:

Zilveren Kruis
Groep Buitenlands Recht
Postbus 650
7300 AR Apeldoorn Netherlands

You can do this before you leave home or when you get to the Netherlands.

Medical care when you travel to another country

To be covered under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, you’ll need to meet the agreement conditions.

RHCA countries

Read the agreement conditions for the RHCA country you are travelling to, from the list below:

Visitors to Australia

Health care for visitors to Australia

Some of your costs for medically necessary care in Australia may be covered if your country has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

Read more about health care for visitors to Australia

Medical care when you visit Australia

To enrol in Medicare under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) and receive benefits for some medical services in Australia, you must meet the RHCA conditions.

The agreement conditions tell you:

  • what medical care you can get under Medicare while you visit Australia, and
  • the documents you need to show us to prove that you are eligible under the RHCA

Read the agreement conditions for the RHCA country you were living in before coming to Australia, from the list below.

RHCA countries

405 and 410 visa holders

Normally you’re not eligible to enrol in Medicare if you’re in Australia on a:

  • 405 investor retirement visa, or
  • 410 retirement visa - applied for or issued after 1 December 1998

You must meet certain criteria to enrol in Medicare.

Assessing your eligibility

To access Medicare when you travel to Australia on a 405 or 410 visa, you must meet certain criteria.

If you applied for or received a subclass 410 (Retirement) visa before 1 December 1998, you may be eligible for Medicare under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement. You must have lived in a country in which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA). Exceptions apply to Italy and Malta.

If you hold a subclass 410 or 405 visa after 1 December 1998, you may be eligible under the RHCA if you:

  • have lived in a country in which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) (exceptions apply to Italy and Malta), and
  • meet the assessment criteria for a person with exceptional circumstances

Read the assessment criteria to find out if you might be eligible for Medicare under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA).

RHCA countries

Resources

More about travelling overseas information

You should always get travel health insurance. Even in a country Australia has a reciprocal health care agreement with.

The smartraveller website helps you find travel insurance that suits the country you’re going to.

Prescription medicine

If you need to take prescription medicine for your health with you when you travel, read about going overseas with PBS medicine. You need to do this if you plan to:

  • take medicine with you
  • buy it overseas

Health issues when you travel

The smartraveller website gives up to date advice on:

  • avoiding diseases
  • health care on a cruise
  • going overseas for health care
  • mental health
  • health checks
  • vaccinations

Related payments and services

Page last updated: 28 August 2017