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Email from medicare about the reciprocal health care agreement

“Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email.

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the Governments of Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Malta, Italy, Norway and Slovenia which entitles eligible people to limited subsidised health services for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia.

An eligible visitor from the United Kingdom (UK) is a person who:

  • was ‘ordinarily resident’ in any part of the territory of the United Kingdom immediately before arriving in Australia and
  • has not entered Australia with the specific intention to obtain medical treatment.

Note: a citizen of the United Kingdom who was not ‘ordinarily resident’ of the United Kingdom immediately before arriving in Australia is not eligible to enrol in Medicare under the RHCA.

The documents required if presenting a current non-British passport are:

  • valid European Health Insurance card bearing the initials ‘UK’ or
  • National Health Service Medical card (Great Britain and the Isle of Man) or
  • Health Service Medical card (Nthn Ireland) or
  • certificate issued by Social Security Committee of the States of Jersey or
  • Proof of Insurance issued by the Guernsey States Insurance Authority or other proof of residence in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

The above cards required are to support residency. If these cannot be provided, you must provide two or more proof of residency documents from the UK.

Other forms of evidence of a person’s residency in a RHCA country include proof of the following in that country:

  • employment
  • property ownership or rental
  • utility accounts
  • bank accounts
  • vehicle registration
  • children attending school.

Eligible visitors from the United Kingdom (including Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland) have access to:

  • Medicare benefits for medically necessary out of hospital treatment
  • medically necessary treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
  • medicines available on prescription which are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at the general rate.

I trust this information will be of assistance.


Yours sincerely

Christine Simonit
Service Officer, Enquiry Resolution
Health Support & Business Services Division
Provider Services Branch
Australian Government Department of Human Services

Parramatta Smart Centre
130 George St Parramatta 2150
PO box 9822 Sydney 2001

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