We've done the research for you!
There are two forms of Healthcare in Australia – Private and the Government institution known as Medicare
This is Australia’s National Health Service, it provides free treatment in public hospitals and free subsidised treatment by doctors. As soon as you arrive in Australia it is advisable to apply for your Medicare card. You can do this online or in one of the many Medicare centres based around Perth. Your Medicare card will show your Medicare membership number, the names of all dependants entitled to use the service and the expiry date of the card. You should keep this with you at all times.
When going to the doctors it is advisable to get a doctor that bulk bills, that way you will not have to pay for the appointment as the surgery will bill Medicare directly. If you see a doctor that doesn’t bulk bill then you could expect to pay around $50 for an appointment. You will also need to present your Medicare card when picking up prescriptions.
Dental and optical (apart from eye tests) and the Ambulance service are not covered under Medicare. This is something you will need to get covered through private health cover.
Private health treatment functions both in conjunction with Medicare and independently of it, most public hospitals admit private patients. In addition to specialist appointments and hospital treatment, people most commonly use private health services to obtain second opinions, health checks and screening and for complimentary medicines such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy and physiotherapy which aren’t usually covered by Medicare. There are lots of different levels of cover that each Insurance company provide, do your research and get a few quotes before signing up to a provider.
Ambulance cover is a must. If you do not have Ambulance cover in your policy an ambulance call out would cost approximately $500 +
Government Incentives and Penalties for Private Health Insurance
The Australian Government has put in place a number of incentives designed to get Australians covered by Private Health Insurance.
The 30% Government Rebate
The rebate contributes at least 30 cents for every dollar that you pay for private health insurance. The rebate is available for Australian residents with Medicare eligibility. You can have the rebate automatically deducted off your premiums, receive a direct payment from the Government, or claim it back at tax time.
The Medicare Levy Surcharge
By taking out eligible levels of Private Health Insurance you may be able to save on tax (MLS). For the tax year 2015/16, if you don’t have the appropriate level of hospital insurance and are single with a taxable income of over $90,000 per year, or a couple or family earning a combined taxable income of over $180,000, you may have to pay an extra 1% in tax (MLS).
Health Cover Loading
Private health insurance is optional – however if you don’t purchase hospital cover by the 1st of July following your 31st birthday, you will pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading on top of the premium of any hospital cover you later purchase. This equates to 2% on top of your premium for every year you are aged over 30. If you are over 31 and have only just become a permanent resident, you have one year from the date you became eligible for Medicare benefits to purchase private hospital cover without incurring a loading.
For more information on Private Health care please visit www.privatehealth.gov.au
Emergency Number – 000
Health Direct Australia?(similar to NHS Direct) – 1800 022 222.
Medical Helpline – 08 9400 9999