Unsure About Reciprocal Health Agreements?

Worldwide many countries have made health care agreements so that residents that have an accident or become ill in that country can receive free or subsidised health care for the duration of their stay (or until they can migrate back to their home country). Generally these are countries that have a health care system in their own country such as the UK which has the NHS. Health care arrangements can range from visits to a doctor, a specialist, a hospital through to an ambulance. It will rarely include any optional services such as dentists, optical or physiotherapy services but this should be explored if you are moving to one of these countries to double-check the coverage.

Australia holds reciprocal health agreements with a number of countries that applies for 457 visa holders including:

  • New Zealand457 visa Medicare Card
  • the United Kingdom
  • Sweden
  • the Netherlands
  • Finland
  • Belgium

If you come from a country with such an agreement, you may be  eligible for Medicare once you arrive in Australia.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t need sufficient 457 visa health insurance when applying for 457 visa or that you should automatically drop your health insurance once you have Medicare. View our complete 457 visa reciprocal health insurance page for more information. It’s important to understand the Australian tax system before making any decisions about dropping Medicare. For example, there is a Medicare surcharge which can be up to an extra 1.5% tax if you don’t have health insurance and your earning over a certain threshold. This is why almost 50% of Australian’s have private health insurance (as well as the more comprehensive cover it provides, the reduced waiting lists and the ability to be treated in a private hospital).

If your an Australian and moving overseas, its important to understand not just if a reciprocal health care agreement exists but also how you can claim under that system. For example, if you move to the UK you don’t automatically receive the NHS for all services (such as seeing a GP). To receive this you need to apply for a national insurance number which is free but involves paperwork and an interview on-site in the UK. Waiting times apply for getting an interview so its important to get the paperwork completed either before you enter the UK or as soon as you arrive. Some service such as visits to a hospital may not require the national insurance number but there is little incentive not getting this sorted ASAP.

Additionally, Human Services (government website) has information on Medicare, who is eligible and how to apply for it here https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/medicare-card