Health Care in Australia

The Australian Health Care System

Who is covered?

Australia’s national public health insurance scheme, Medicare, provides universal health coverage for citizens and permanent residents, as well as automatic coverage for people with temporary visas from countries with whom Australia has reciprocal arrangements. All overseas students are required to enroll in Overseas Student Health Cover. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs covers eligible veterans and dependents by directly purchasing public and private health care services. The Australian government provides some assistance for asylum seekers while their applications are processed, including temporary eligibility for Medicare, and pays for health care for those in detention centers. Undocumented migrants who are not eligible for Medicare, those experiencing financial hardship, and asylum seekers can seek assistance from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Private health insurance plays a mixed complementary and supplementary role, offering people access to treatment in private hospitals and covering some ancillary health care services; enrollment is encouraged through taxes and subsidies.

 For more information, read a Commonwealth Fund Profile of the Australian Health Care System.

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