Australian Health caresystem

When you’re moving to a new country there’s a lot to learn about its health care system. We’re here to guide you.

There are two levels of health care in Australia: the public system (Medicare) and the private health system.


Medicare provides a high level of health care for all Australian residents. It offers residents access to hospital treatment and lowers the cost of medical treatment outside of hospitals.

Medicare doesn’t cover treatment in private hospitals, emergency ambulances or services like dental treatment and physiotherapy.

Medicare is available to eligible visitors from countries that have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia. If you come from a country that doesn’t have a RHCA with Australia you’re recommended to take out private health insurance in case you need any medical or hospital treatment while you’re here, which would otherwise be very expensive.

Private health insurance may also be a requirement for your visa, even if you have access to a RHCA.

Private health care

The private health system is made up of private health insurers, private hospitals and other health providers, like dentists and physiotherapists.

Private health insurance can cover you for hospital treatment, medical treatment, extras and emergency ambulance. The treatments and procedures you can claim for will depend on the level of insurance you choose.

Private health care


Hospital cover means you can be treated as a private patient in a public or private hospital and access necessary medical treatment when you don’t need to go to hospital. Using doctors and hospitals from the HCF network will help you avoid paying additional costs for treatment that’s covered by your insurance.


Extras cover allows you to claim for services like dental treatment, physiotherapy, glasses and contact lenses, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and more.


Ambulance cover provides emergency on-the-spot treatment and transportation to hospital if you need further (emergency) treatment. 

Learn about HCF’s Overseas Visitors Cover