Healthcare For Expats In Australia

Moving to Australia has been a popular choice for expatriates for generations. Apart from one of the strongest economies in the world and wonderful natural assets, Australia offers a high quality healthcare system. Australians are in great hands when it comes to medical care; but what provisions have been made for expatriates residing in the country? 

By Cigna Global

Public healthcare in Australia is funded by the subsidised Medicare system, which is paid for via income deduction, and covers essential medical costs. However, the system is not all-inclusive, and most expats are not eligible. Medicare does not cover the cost of prescription drugs, nor does it cover visits to the dentist, hearing or visual aid, physiotherapy, among others.

While every person living in Australia on a permanent visa is eligible for public healthcare, most temporary visa holders need to take out a private health plan – which is usually the case for most expatriates. When applying for a working visa, applicants are asked to provide evidence of a private health cover.

Because the public system is not all-encompassing, there are financial incentives by the government to encourage residents – even Australians – to purchase a private health policy. However, those who are not eligible for Medicare in the first place are not able to benefit from these schemes.

Some countries have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. Expats who are nationals of these countries are able to receive assistance for essential medical treatment in Australia, but this type of cover is meant for short-stays and does not provide a long-term solution for expats residing in the country.

Another option for expats is to obtain individual private medical insurance (IPMI). IPMI policies can often be advantageous to expats, by comparison to local policies, as many of the benefits have been tailored specifically to suit expatriates.

Once you have established what you need from a medical policy, compare a few quotes – you will then be able to make an informed decision and find the right policy for you and your family.


Cigna Global are specialists in expatriate healthcare. We know that expats like you have high expectations in terms of standard and flexibility, which is why we continue to work towards improving our range of healthcare options to meet your needs. For more information on Cigna Global, or to get a quote, please visit