What is Medicare?

Medicare provides access to medical and hospital services for all Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia. We administer Medicare, including the payment of Medicare benefits on behalf of the Department of Health, which is responsible for developing Medicare policy. (Medicare is only available to Australian’s and countries that have a reciprocal agreement – see below)

Medicare covers:

  • free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists and in specific circumstances dentists and other allied health practitioners
  • free treatment and accommodation as a public Medicare patient in a public hospital, and
  • 75% of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital. This does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines

As an international visitor tax time can be very confusing. If you come from a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia and you are required to complete an

Income Tax Return, you may be required to pay the Medicare Levy and the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Can I get a Medicare card?

Click here to see if you can get one:

New Arrivals and Visitors


Medicare  Levy

Medicare is the scheme that enables Australian residents access to health care. To help fund

Medicare anyone who is a resident of Australia for tax purposes is required to pay a Medicare Levy

of 1.5% of their taxable income. This levy is deducted by your employer and paid to the Australian

Taxation Office (ATO).

You may be exempt from paying the Medicare Levy if you are a temporary resident not entitled to

Medicare benefits. For information about recovering your Medicare Levy, contact the Australian

Taxation Office on 132 861.

Medicare  Levy  Surcharge

If you come from a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia and

your taxable income is above the Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds you could be liable for the

Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Without the appropriate level of hospital cover you may have to pay an additional 1% to 1.5% in tax

if your income exceeds the MLS thresholds.

While our health covers do not exempt you from the MLS, we can still help you avoid the levy. Check out the Private Health Care Page on our website which help you avoid the levy!

Australian  Government  Private  Health  Insurance  Rebate

The Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate (also known as the Federal

Government Rebate) reduces the premiums for Australian private health insurance cover, including

hospital and ancillary (Extras). You could be eligible to claim this rebate if you are entitled to

Medicare and have taken out an Australian domestic health insurance product.

For more information about the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate visit or the Australian Taxation Office at