Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Covers 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.

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.

Q & A on Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

I’m going overseas soon. Can I use my Medicare card for any medical treatment I may need while I’m away?
No, you can’t use your Medicare card to claim medical treatment while you’re away. But you might be able to get help with the cost of some medical treatments under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement.

What does that mean?
Australia has agreements with Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. If something happens and you need urgent medical treatment while visiting one of these countries, you may be able to get subsidised care.

What should I do if I need medical treatment in one of these countries?
When you receive urgent medical care in one of these countries, you can tell the doctor or nurse that you want to be treated under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia. Just make sure you show your Medicare card or passport to prove you are an Australian resident.

Where can I get more information about Reciprocal Health Care Agreements?
To find out more about the agreements and how they may help you:

  • Go to humanservices.gov.au;
  • Visit your nearest Medicare service centre; or
  • For help in in other languages, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.