Navigating any health insurance system can often be tricky business. The important thing is to make sure you do your due diligence and understand the system you’re in so that you can make good decisions about health insurance. With that in mind, here’s some information about the system in Australia and how you can use it to buy something that works well for you.

Australia Health Insurance Overview

The Australian health insurance system is what people would call universal public healthcare. In other words, the residents of the country have the ability to have their healthcare guided by a government-run group, namely Medicare. Other people may know this system as the public option, because there is private health insurance available in Australia as well.

The Medicare system helps citizens cover a huge section of the basics needed for healthcare. It’s worth noting here, however, that you don’t get the cost upfront. Instead, you have to front the money from your own pocket in the beginning, and then, after the fact, send a claim to the government to get the money you spent back in your pocket.

The system is paid for through what’s called a “Medicare Levy,” which is essentially a tax on citizens to help pay for it.

Medicare for All

Medicare covers all Australian citizens in a basic way, but you can also choose to get some private insurance too, if you so choose. It’s a system that focuses on choice. The Medicare coverage is good, however. It helps you cover any kind of GP visit, treatment at a hospital, and other basics. In the case where you need a specialist, it will cover as much as 85 percent of the cost. This includes stuff like part dental, eye tests, and so on. You also get some of your prescription drugs paid for.

The only real problem in the system that people have cited is that you don’t get any help paying for your glasses or getting a trip in an ambulance when you need it.

Private Options

If you decide to instead go with private insurance, this is an option as well. By combining the two together, you have the advantage of using private insurance to cover anything that won’t be covered by the regular public insurance. You also get a bit more choice as you can choose what doctor you want and choose a particular private hospital to go to if you so choose.

The Private insurance can also help you with coverage for things that aren’t covered by Medicare, such as ambulance rides. There’s also the advantage where you can get a bit more coverage for your dental insurance, for example.


It’s important for immigrants to look carefully about whether they qualify for Medicare or not. Not everyone is going to be able to qualify. Those who have a permanent visa will qualify, for example, or at least, they will often qualify. Those who don’t may not, especially if they have a temporary visa instead. It all just depends. IN some cases, it may be necessary for you to prove that you already have private insurance before you even move to the area, depending on the situation.

Overall, it’s important to make sure that you look over all of your options carefully so that you know when you’re going to need some change to make sure you cover everything and when you are likely OK and everything is covered.