New Zealanders living permanently or long-term in Australia may be able to get free emergency treatment and some medical benefits under a reciprocal health care agreement.

Know what you're entitled to

We recommend that New Zealanders become familiar with what medical treatments and benefits they are entitled to (noting they are different from New Zealand) and get suitable medical insurance before travelling to Australia - at least until they have enrolled with Medicare.

More information on the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (external link).

Medicare

Medicare (external link) is Australia's publicly-funded healthcare system.

New Zealand citizens living permanently in Australia are eligible for Medicare if they:

People who are eligible for Medicare get free public hospital treatment and free or subsidised treatment from doctors. They can also access subsidised medication.

Hospital treatment

New Zealand citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand (prior to arriving in Australia) who are temporarily visiting Australia can get free emergency treatment at an Australian public hospital under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (external link).

Under the Agreement between New Zealand and Australia, some medication may be subsidised, but there can be charges for some services, such as ambulance transport.

Non hospital-related medical expenses

New Zealanders who are not eligible for Medicare or help under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement have to pay all out-of-hospital costs, for example:

  • doctors’ visits
  • ambulances
  • dental care
  • medical evacuation to New Zealand
  • treatment in private hospitals
  • treatment that is elective or not immediately necessary
  • funerals
  • the full cost of all medication.

We recommend that New Zealanders get medical insurance before travelling to Australia to cover these costs.