Health care differs greatly from one country to another, so if you are thinking of relocating or living in Australia for a while, you should learn a little about the specifics of the medical and health care system.

Please also note, that depending on the visa you have obtained, your health insurance requirements may differ.

Does Australia have good healthcare?

The World Health Organisation ranks Australia's healthcare system as the 32nd most efficient in the world. With high-quality hospitals and clinics and the latest diagnostic and testing facilities, Australia stands out for its health care system.

An important factor in Australia's healthcare system is that it not only treats the sick, but also places a great focus on disease prevention and health management so that emergency departments and public hospitals do not become stretched, considering that prevention is more cost-effective in the long run.

How does the public health system work in Australia?

The Australian public health system, known as Medicare, provides essential hospital treatment, doctor's appointments and medication free of charge, or at a reduced cost as it is financed by income tax and a government levy.

Unfortunately, most international travellers or students do not have access to Medicare, only some countries are covered - these are listed below.

If you are not entitled to Medicare, you will need to pay the full cost for any public hospital services you receive. However, if you have private health insurance, it is possible that the insurer will bear part of this cost.

The countries that have reciprocal health care agreements and can apply for Medicare are:
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • the Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • the Republic of Ireland
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • the United Kingdom.


Do I need health insurance to travel to Australia?

Australia is not exactly inexpensive when it comes to health care. Although, as mentioned before, it has a very good public health system, if you don't have access to it, consultations and hospitalisation can be quite devastating in terms of costs.

Student Visa Health Insurance

If you are a student visa holder, then you must obtain the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) throughout your stay in Australia. If you renew your visa, your insurance cover must also be renewed.

The Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) provides health insurance coverage for overseas visitors in Australia who do not have access to Australia's public Medicare system for hospital or medical expenses, drugs (up to $50 per drug) and ambulance services.

OSHC will not usually cover services such as dentistry, optician or physiotherapy. However, you can purchase additional or extra coverage if you wish to receive such services.

Working Holiday Travel & Health Insurance

To obtain a Working Holiday 482 or 485 visa for Australia, you must purchase an appropriate level of health cover. A working holiday visa health cover plan should, at the very least, provide cover for in-patient medical services and hospital cover, as well as ambulance cover. These will help you cover the costs of some medical and hospital visits, if needed.

It is not mandatory to obtain health insurance for Working Holiday 417 visas, but it is highly recommended to do so anyway.

Visitor or Tourist Visa Health Insurance

Health insurance is not compulsory when obtaining a visitor or business visitor visa in Australia, but it is highly recommended by the government.

How much is health insurance in Australia per month?

On average, private health insurance costs about $160 AUD a month per person. However, prices vary depending on factors ranging from location, household size and coverage level.


If you need more information about the health cover requirements for your stay in Australia or want us to recommend the best service for your needs, do not hesitate to contact us, at Study Destination we are here to help you!

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