Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Visiting from the United Kingdom

If you’re visiting Australia from the United Kingdom you may be eligible for medical care under Medicare while you’re here.

You need to enrol in Medicare to get a benefit.

Who’s eligible

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the United Kingdom (UK) before arriving in Australia.

If you’re here on a student visa you’re eligible.

If you’re in Australia for a short time and don’t need medical care, there’s no need to enrol.

What’s covered

The agreement covers:

  • medically necessary care as a public patient in a public hospital and out of hospital care
  • some prescription medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

How to enrol in Medicare

To enrol, you need to visit a service centre. You must bring a completed Medicare enrolment form and documents you need to show us.

Documents you need to show us

If you’re a British citizen, you’ll need to show evidence of your current visa, and:

  • your British passport, or
  • your Northern Ireland passport

You may need to show at least 2 documents that prove you’re a British citizen or resident.

If you’re not a British citizen, you’ll need to show your passport, evidence of your current visa, and:

  • your European Health Insurance Card with the initials UK
  • your National Health Insurance card if you’re from Great Britain or the Isle of Man
  • your Health Service card if you’re from Northern Ireland
  • a Health card from the Health and Social Services department from of the States of Jersey
  • proof of insurance from the Guernsey States Insurance Authority
  • other proof that you’re a resident of Guernsey, or
  • 2 documents showing you’re a UK resident

You may need to show at least 2 documents proving you live in the UK. This could include:

  • work contract
  • rental or lease agreement or bond receipt
  • bank statement
  • evidence of child enrolled in childcare or school
  • property or contents insurance
  • gas, electricity, water or rates account

Documents must have a date marked on them.

When your cover starts and ends

Your cover starts the day you arrive in Australia.

It ends when the first of these expires:

  • your health insurance
  • your visa

If you get medical treatment in Australia before you enrol in Medicare, you may get a Medicare benefit for it. Once you enrol in Medicare, you should submit a claim. We’ll then be able to tell you if you can get a benefit under the agreement or not.

If you're a diplomat

If you’re a diplomat, you and your family are eligible to enrol in Medicare for the time you’re posted here. This means the cover under the agreement will apply for as long as you’re in Australia.

When you’re not eligible

If you’re not eligible for Medicare, you can’t claim a benefit for treatment you have in Australia. But, if you need to lodge an income tax return in Australia, you may be eligible for a Medicare levy exemption. This applies if you weren’t eligible for Medicare for all or part of the financial year. You’ll need to get a Medicare Entitlement Statement from us to do this.

Read more about the Medicare levy exemption on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Page last updated: 21 August 2018