Reciprocal Health Care Agreements cover the cost of essential medical treatment for Australian residents travelling in some countries. Under these Agreements, some health services and subsidised medicines are provided to visitors from these countries when they are in Australia.

Health care while travelling overseas

While Medicare benefits are not available for medical treatment you receive overseas, the Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with some countries. You can get help with the cost of some medical treatments in these countries.

If you travel overseas you can get help with the cost of essential medical treatment in some countries under the Australian Government’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.

The Australian Government has agreements with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. These agreements mean:

  • Australian residents can get help with the cost of essential medical treatment when visiting these countries

  • residents of these countries can get some essential medical treatments while visiting Australia.

Students from Norway, Finland, Malta and the Republic of Ireland aren’t covered by agreements with those countries.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements aren’t designed to replace private travel health insurance for overseas travel.

If you know you need treatment, you can enrol for Medicare at a DHS Service Centre. If you receive treatment before you enrol, Medicare benefits will be back-paid for eligible visitors.

To enrol in Medicare you need:

  • your passport and a valid visa

  • to provide (in some cases) identification showing you are enrolled in your country’s national health scheme.

If your Medicare application is approved, you will receive an Australian reciprocal health care card in the mail.