Australia is a beautiful country in which to work and live. In recent years, the country has become attractive for expatriates who wish to be part of a dynamic society and a growing economy. The nation enjoys a high standard of living and a splendid lifestyle with golden beaches, sprawling farms, and charismatic cityscapes.
Before you relocate to Australia for work, you need a clear understanding of the healthcare system. Dealing with the medical system of a foreign country with its own unfamiliar way of doing things might become stressful if you were to fall ill without insurance. Read on to find more about Australia expat health insurance, which would help you through such an emergency.
The Australian Healthcare System: Understanding Medicare
Australians receive most medical treatment from a government-funded healthcare system known as Medicare. To fund it, the government charges a 1.5% fee on all taxable income. Those who earn more than AUD 94,000 per year are charged at least 1% more. The tax collected is used to finance the healthcare system. However, the funding from this tax still falls short of what is required, and the federal government provides the remainder.
Inpatient costs are fully covered. Regardless of the complexity of treatment, Medicare fully pays for public hospital charges. Primary care such as regular visits and annual checkups are subsidized by about 75% under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Other charges are paid either out of pocket or paid for by private insurance.
There are some exceptions to Medicare coverage:
- Ambulance – Medicare does not pay for the cost of transportation to the hospital, no matter how critical the illness.
- Private hospital – Medicare does not pay for treatment at private facilities.
- Dental treatment – Apart from fillings and extractions, any other dental procedure has to be paid for out of pocket. Services like dental braces, aligners, and complex root canals might require private insurance.
- Eyewear – Glasses and contact lenses are excluded from Medicare-based funding or subsidies. Similarly, hearing aids are beyond the scope of support.
- Physiotherapy – Essential physiotherapy needed for immediate post-op care is provided. However, the cost of any prolonged treatment has to be paid personally.
- Cosmetic surgery – Cosmetic surgery is not covered.
Drawbacks of Medicare You Must Be Aware Of
By international standards, Australia’s Medicare is an enviable healthcare system. However, it’s overburdened.
At least 50% of all Australians who need elective surgery have to wait at least a month. Elective, in this case, does not mean non-essential, but simply any condition that can be managed by medication in the short term. Waiting a month with a painful gallstone is an excruciating experience. Dental care is similarly inadequate; almost 25% of the population of Southern Australia have to wait more than a year to receive treatment. That is an awfully long wait to get a cavity examined.
If you are living in Australia as an expat from any of the following countries, you receive reciprocal medical care due to taxes you pay in your native country.
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- United Kingdom
Citizens of other nations have to pay for private insurance or contribute to the public-funded Medicare system when they apply for their visa. That’s why Australia expat health insurance is a much more viable option for expats going to the country.
Expat Health Insurance Opens Access to Australia’s Private Healthcare
The Australian private healthcare system is excellent. The number of private hospitals (more than 600) is almost as high as public hospitals and offers almost half of the country’s available beds. Private healthcare has been playing a growing role in the Australian healthcare system.
With an expat health insurance plan, you would gain immediate admission to the best private hospitals in Australia and wouldn’t have to wait for treatment you could receive under Medicare.
Australia Expat Health Insurance: For Complete Peace of Mind
You should purchase health insurance for expats in Australia as soon as you apply for a long-term visa. In fact, such coverage is favored by immigration, as it lessens the burden on the public healthcare system.
What are the principal factors that help you to decide the best expat medical care insurance policy?
- Geographical span – The policy should be operative in more than one country. Usually, expat medical care is available either worldwide or worldwide without the U.S. A portable plan ensures that you could travel from Australia to any other nation, such as Taiwan or Malaysia, and still remain protected.
- Pre-existing conditions – The policy should accept any medical condition you already have. For example, it doesn’t refuse treatment for a stroke because you have suffered from high blood pressure for the past few years. Of course, even if pre-existing conditions are allowed, the insurer might opt out of expensive treatments, e.g., for cancer, or make them available through riders.
- Look for sub-limits – A policy might offer a high gross limit but provide very limited sub-limits for beds, ICU, and physiotherapy. Sub-limits are daily expense ceilings under different categories. Insurers put in this type of clause to prevent huge expenses within a short time span, such as in case of a severe accident. Look for the highest sub-limits you can afford.
- Cheapest is not the best – When it comes to expat health insurance, the most affordable does not always make the most sense. The value of your life is invaluable, and effective treatment is essential. Therefore, read the fine print, compare the cost with the coverage quality, and only then should you make a carefully considered decision.
How to Buy the Best Expat Health Insurance
It makes little sense to buy directly from an insurance company. Any insurance company will always claim to sell the best policy on the market. Do not allow a good salesman to influence the process through glib sales talk.
Instead, compare policies from various insurers, and then opt for one that suits you the best.
We let you compare all major Australia expat health insurance plans side by side.
Understand your needs, and identify the plan that offers you adequate protection. Enjoy peace of mind as you build an enriching life in Australia.