Australia Health Insurance

Looking to move to Australia? To discover a new culture, for a professional opportunity or to start from scratch? Want to find out more about healthcare costs, vaccinations and accessibility? Mondassur answers all your questions in this article on health in Australia.

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Being covered by international health insurance means you can stay in Australia with complete peace of mind. Whether you plan to live in Australia for an extended period as an expatriate, are an international student, or simply an occasional traveler, you can benefit from coverage tailored to your situation. Health cover will help you meet medical and hospital costs, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Student insurance Australia

The insurance that covers your stay for your studies in Australia.



/ month

Expatriate insurance Australia

Health insurance to cover your expatriation to Australia.



/ month

Travel insurance Australia

Health insurance to cover your trip to Australia.



/ trip

Any questions? Need advice?

Information about health insurance in Australia

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Political system: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capital: Canberra
Surface area: 7,686,850 km²
Population: 20.4 million
Languages spoken : English
Currency: Australian dollar

Australia's healthcare system

Ranked among the world’s top 10 healthcare systems, Australia boasts a state-of-the-art healthcare infrastructure and a qualified healthcare workforce. The government ensures that the entire population has access to free healthcare. On the one hand, Australia has introduced a national drug benefit plan to enable patients to reduce their healthcare expenditure. On the other hand, the government encourages its affluent population to seek healthcare privately, while overtaxing those who are not insured. These taxes are used to finance the portion of the poorest population unable to afford healthcare.

How does the local health and insurance system work in Australia?

Since 1984, Australia’s healthcare system has been based on a health insurance scheme called Medicare. This is universal health coverage reserved exclusively for Australian citizens and foreigners with permanent resident status. This universal health insurance scheme offers citizens and permanent residents free access to outpatient and inpatient care. It also provides free or low-subsidized access to dental care, optometry and psychology services. This universal coverage may apply reductions in certain cases for treatments carried out by specialists such as physiotherapists, dieticians or speech therapists. Medicare is financed by income taxes applied to Australian employees whose income exceeds a certain threshold (up to 2% of salary).
The benefits covered by Medicare are :

  • Consultations with a general practitioner or specialist;
  • Hospitalizations ;
  • Treatment prescribed by a doctor (tests, examinations, surgery, etc.);
  • Eye tests performed by optometrists.

Other treatments are only reimbursed by Medicare under certain conditions.
Some countries, such as Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and the UK, have signed bilateral agreements with Australia. In this way, expatriates from these countries can benefit in part from Medicare directly. However, the coverage offered is less attractive than that enjoyed by Australian citizens or permanent residents: only essential care is covered by Medicare.

Why take out private international insurance for expatriation to Australia?

  • To subscribe to Medicare as an expatriate, you need to obtain permanent resident status. While you’re waiting to obtain permanent resident status, it’s highly recommended that you take out international health insurance to cover you for the period when you won’t yet have access to Medicare.
  • In any case, it is strongly recommended to take out complementary insurance to Medicare, which only partially covers non-essential care such as paramedical care. Medicare reimbursement rates are attractive for standard GP consultations and emergency hospitalization.

How do I obtain permanent resident status in Australia?

To apply for universal medical coverage through Medicare, you’ll need to obtain permanent resident status. Obtaining this status is no easy matter, as only certain visas will allow you to qualify for permanent resident status:

  • Or obtain a work visa to qualify for permanent resident status (not all visas grant permanent resident status). Obtaining a work visa enabling you to qualify for permanent resident status is quite complex in Australia. For example, for the Employer Nomination Scheme 186 visa, you will need to be sponsored by your Australian employer. There are fairly high fees and applications can take up to 20 months to process. If you don’t yet have an employer, the visa application can be processed over 36 months ;
  • Either practice “reunification” for a couple one of whom is a permanent resident, or if your parent or son is an Australian citizen;
  • Or become a permanent resident for your retirement: the government has provided a pathway for foreign retirees to join Medicare on a criteria basis that defines their eligibility.

What vaccinations should I have before moving to Australia?

As soon as you receive your departure date for Australia, we strongly advise you to make an appointment with your GP to review your vaccinations. Keep your standard vaccinations up to date, so you can travel with peace of mind. There are no local diseases requiring vaccination in Australia. Check that the following vaccinations are up to date:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Hepatitis A & B

If you’re making a stopover in South America, you should get vaccinated against yellow fever. Australia requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travelers coming from countries where yellow fever can be transmitted.

If you’re planning to move to rural Australia’s northernmost region, we recommend you get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis.

How do I consult a GP or specialist in Australia?

Consultation with a general practitioner

To consult a GP in Australia, we advise you to make an appointment in advance rather than going without one. To choose your doctor, you can get a recommendation from a medical adviser on the website of your embassy in Australia. You can also look at forums or private groups of expatriates who will recommend a GP based on their own experience.

In Australia, GPs will never prescribe more medication than you need. On the contrary, for common minor illnesses such as colds etc., they’ll encourage you to rest and drink plenty of water to cure the illness naturally. However, they won’t hesitate to prescribe antibiotics or medication if your condition really needs it. The price of a standard consultation with a general practitioner ranges from $35 to $60 AUD (between €30 and €45).

Consultation with a specialist

To consult a specialist, you’ll have to go through your GP or go directly to the hospital. If your GP determines that you need to see a specialist, he or she will write you a referral letter to pass on to the specialist when you see him or her. Without this letter of recommendation, you cannot be reimbursed by your insurance company.

The average cost of a consultation with a specialist is $160 AUD for the first consultation and $60 AUD for subsequent consultations.

In Australia, consultations and eye examinations are carried out directly with an optometrist. The average cost of a consultation with an optometrist is between $50 and $70 AUD.

Medical practices in Australia

In Australia, you’ll find a large number of medical practices with a wide range of healthcare providers, including general practitioners, pediatricians, gynecologists, psychologists, nurses, etc. Sometimes these are general practitioners who also specialize in pediatrics, maternity care, etc. These medical practices are called “Medical Practices” or “Family Practices”. Doctors who specialize in a second medical field limit the need to call in specialists when this is not necessary.

Hospitals in Australia

In Australia, you can go to public or private hospitals for treatment. Some hospitals will specialize in children’s care, maternity, etc. However, the majority of these hospitals are located close to major cities. If you move further into the Australian bush, access to healthcare and the number of medical facilities will be greatly reduced. What’s more, the distances you have to travel to get to a hospital will be greater, so take this into account before moving away from the big cities. Hospital healthcare is of the highest quality, and you’ll be cared for by qualified healthcare staff. But the cost of hospitalization in Australia is very high.

Without supplementary insurance, you can quickly find yourself paying very high prices for healthcare, especially in the private sector. Public hospitals are usually quite full, so there’s always a wait before you can be treated. The majority of the Australian population go to public facilities because their compulsory Medicare health insurance covers them.

Popular hospitals in Australia

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital is Sydney’s largest and most renowned hospital in terms of quality of care. This is the hospital with the most “public patients” in Australia. These are patients who benefit from 100% coverage of the hospital costs incurred. The hospital specializes in cancer treatment, maternity care, rheumatology and orthopedics.

The Alfred University Hospital in Melbourne offers quality care. It boasts Australia’s largest and most efficient intensive care unit, and specializes in a wide range of medical fields including oncology, cardiology, neurosurgery and psychiatry. Lung transplant operations are frequent at this facility, given the quality of its state-of-the-art medical equipment.

Australia's emergency system

The emergency number in Australia is 000. Emergency management in Australia is quite efficient. When you arrive at the emergency department, a nurse will diagnose you, and depending on the degree of urgency, you will be treated more or less quickly. Waiting times are shorter in the private sector than in the public sector. That’s why we advise expatriates to take out private international health insurance, as they often have agreements with private hospitals.

How do you care for your child in Australia?

Australia’s paediatric service is not the best in the world. Australia has fewer than 1,000 practicing paediatricians. What’s more, these pediatricians are clustered around major cities only. Finding a pediatrician outside the big city can be very complicated. If you absolutely need a paediatrician, you can search for one on Australian health provider search engines. You can also refer to children’s hospitals, which can recommend pediatricians in your area. Finally, you can ask the nurses, who will usually know which pediatricians are in your area.

Dental consultations in Australia

In Australia, dentists are free to charge whatever they wish. This means that the price range varies according to the dentist, the state in which he or she operates, etc. But on average, dental operations cost much more than in other countries.

Examples of prices according to expatriates :

  • Standard dental consultation: $45
  • Descaling: $250
  • Permanent tooth decay treatment: $600 – $800

We advise you to take out international health insurance or a supplementary plan, and to include reimbursement of dental expenses, as these can quickly become unaffordable.

Examples of medical costs in Australia :

This table gives you an idea of average hospital costs in Australia:

  • Ultrasound: $100 – $1000 AUD
  • Blood test: $130 AUD
  • Hospitalization: $1500 – $2500 AUD / day
  • Intensive care : From $4500 AUD
  • Medical examination: $90 AUD
  • MRI: $215 AUD

Pharmacies in Australia

There are three main pharmacy chains in Australia that you can visit if you need to:

  • Amcal ;
  • Priceline;
  • Terry White.

Pharmacists can let you buy drugs even without a prescription or a doctor’s note, if they feel you need them. What’s more, they’re also the ones you can turn to if you want them to recommend another healthcare provider or facility.

Maternity in Australia

Are you pregnant and wondering about maternity care in Australia? We’ll explain how the maternity system works in Australia.

Some hospitals in Australia have excellent maternity facilities, practicing various natural childbirth methods such as the use of warm baths, relaxing gases and, only as a last resort, epidurals. If you want to give birth with an epidural, you need to let us know early on in your pregnancy. What’s more, Caesarean sections are widely practiced in Australia, so you’ll easily be offered one, and your husband will be allowed to stay in the delivery room during the operation. In Australia, you’ll need to consult a general practitioner rather than a gynecologist

In total, you will be offered two ultrasound scans ($150 – $200 AUD), and you can also request a 3D ultrasound scan, which is quite common in Australia but comes at a cost ($500 AUD) and is not reimbursed by insurance. In addition to these ultrasound scans, you’ll also have blood tests, usually two.

The choice of public or private sector is up to you. If you are insured by Medicare, you will only be reimbursed if you give birth in a public hospital. With an international health insurance policy such as GoldExpat, you will have access to a large number of private hospitals approved by your insurer.

You will be offered childbirth classes given by hospital midwives. You can also benefit from the free services of a physiotherapist for the 6 months following your delivery.

The cost of pregnancy in Australia

The cost of an uncomplicated pregnancy varies according to many factors. Here are some examples of the average costs of pregnancy care in Australia:

  • Doctor’s visit and prenatal care/visit: $100 AUD
  • Prenatal ultrasound: $200 AUD
  • Natural delivery: $9000 AUD
  • Cesarean delivery: $14000 AUD

OSHC student health insurance in Australia

If you’re a student planning to study in Australia, you’ll need to take out OSHC (OverSeas Health Cover) insurance. This insurance is quite similar to basic social security coverage, and will cover you for standard healthcare services such as emergency hospitalization and medical consultations. But reimbursement rates are relatively low. In addition, excess fees, repatriation, civil liability and specialist doctors are not covered. Finally, you will be covered by this insurance only if you seek treatment in public facilities. That’s why it’s a good idea to take out a student health insurance policy, so that you’re covered at better rates and, above all, in the event of medical repatriation.

Do I need international health insurance for Australia?

Are you planning to expatriate to Australia and wondering whether you should take out private international health insurance? The answer is yes, especially for Australia. On the one hand, any visa for Australia requires health insurance covering you for the entire duration of your stay. On the other hand, in order to benefit from universal Medicare coverage, you must first obtain permanent resident status. Completing the application for permanent resident status takes a minimum of three months. What’s more, once you’ve obtained permanent resident status, you’ll still need to apply for Medicare coverage.

This means that once you’re here, if you’re not covered by private health insurance and need to be hospitalized, you’ll have to pay the full cost of any medical expenses incurred. In Australia, medical care is of excellent quality, but the cost of this care is extremely high. Taking out international health insurance is an essential part of your expatriation plan.

What health insurance should I take out when expatriating to Australia, and for whom?

Whatever your profile, you need private health insurance if you want to obtain a visa to go to Australia.
  • Are you a nomadic worker or do you simply want to travel to Australia as a tourist? Whatever your motivation, you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa. To obtain this visa, you must take out travel insurance to cover medical expenses in Australia. Our Gold Nomad travel insurance meets all the criteria required for your stay in Australia.
  • If you’re planning to spend your WHP in Australia, it’s essential that you take out private international health insurance, which will enable you to receive private hospital treatment in Australia without breaking the bank. It will also enable you to benefit from medical repatriation abroad or to your home country in the event of serious hospitalization. Our GoldStart insurance is tailored to your profile and will enable you to enjoy your WHP to the full without worry.
  • If you are an expatriate employee with a Temporary Skill Shortage TSS visa (or 482 visa) for Australia, we offer you Gold Expat expatriate health insurance to cover private healthcare costs and medical repatriation if necessary, both abroad and in your home country. Our health insurance enables you to qualify for the TSS visa if you meet the other criteria.
  • If you are retired, to obtain any retirement visa (spouse visa, family reunion visa, investor visa, sponsored visa or retirement visa) you must take out expatriate health insurance to validate your visa.
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