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Health issues

Private Health Insurance & Medicare Levy

Post here about healthcare in Australia. (NB - postings about visa-related medical issues belong on the "Visas/medicals" forum.)

Private Health Insurance & Medicare Levy

Postby Chorlton » Thu 28 Jul 2005 18:31 GMT

Hi All,

I am getting VERY VERY CONFUSED about Private Health Insurance & Medicare in Australia and would very much welcome any help or advice.

I am emigrating to Australia on a Temporary Subclass 457 Visa. According to the Australian Tax Office, as I am migrating & settling in Australia, I am classed as a "Resident for Tax Purposes". Therefore, I am liable to Medicare (@ 1.5% of base salary). Also, as I am above the threshold level of $50,000, I also have to pay the Medicare Surcharge (@ additional 1% of base salary).

Now, this is where I'm getting confused :? As I will be on a Temporary Subclass 457 visa, apparently I have to have my own Private Health Insurance. Is this definately correct?? :?

The Immigration Consultancy who is helping me with my visa application has told me that as a British Citizen I am able to access basic Medicare services on a temporary visa!! What does BASIC medicare services include?? and if I can assess those services, why do I need Private Health Insurance??

So, in essence, it seems to me that:

1) I have to pay Medicare Levy
2) I have to pay Medicare Surcharge
3) I have to pay for Private Health Care (approx A$160 / month)

As it stands, it seems to me that I'm paying twice for similar services!!

Does anyone have any experience with this??

Many Thanks,

A "confused" Chorlton


PS. Here is the link to the ATO calculator that determines whether someone is classed as a resident or not - http://calculators.ato.gov.au/scripts/a ... .xr4&go=ok
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Confused #2

Postby lynniep » Tue 25 Oct 2005 06:30 GMT

Sorry Chorlton, I'm not responding with an answer to your questions. I was about to ask exactly the same things myself.

I have a medicare card now as does hubby (he's on business temporary visa and I'm on it as spouse). We have no idea what to do. Hubby came back the other day having spoken to a helpful woman (or should I say a woman who was trying to be helpful) at the medicare centre and tried to explain what she'd said to him, but realised he hadnt understood at all. He thinks she was trying to explain something about doctors bulk billing and that its not worth getting private, but we're still in the dark.

So anyone out there that can help - I'd really appreciate it!
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Medicare

Postby aweston2 » Wed 26 Oct 2005 11:42 GMT

Indeed Medicare is very confusing. I'm new here as well and have just got a Medicare card so still learning. What I know so far is that basic medical cover is provided to all those who have a visa that allows them to work (even if only temporary). This means you can go to most GPs and hospitals and the government will pay. The key issue is if they are labelled "bulk-billing" that way they bill the government directly so you pay nothing. Other GPs bill you (around $50 more) and you then claim it all or most of it back from Medicare (depends on your cash flow). The bigger issues are Medicare does not cover dental stuff, ambulance charges and certain surgical stuff (usually non critical stuff not covered). Private medical insurance is big business and expensive and of course is a risk/cost trade off and allows you to jump any waiting lists just like the UK. You certainly don't have to have it if you can work, if you work you are covered by Medicare (once you've applied by showing your visa).

Hope this is helpful ???

Jim :?
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Medicare and Private

Postby lynniep » Wed 26 Oct 2005 23:30 GMT

Thanks Jim - We just needed someone to explain the basics like you did so that helps a lot!
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Postby SSue » Sat 29 Oct 2005 14:17 GMT

Somehow I missed this post, so I'm sorry for the delayed reply.

The theory is that those who can afford to pay for their medical care,
should take out private health cover, leaving government funds available for
those who can't. Pensioners/disabled/accident victims/ low paid workers etc.
However it's not compulsory, and even the top cover policy will still leave
a shortfall, which the patient will be billed for.

You can choose a GP who 'bulk bills' and usually after the first
consultation, which you may have to pay for, but reclaim from Medicare,
after that you will just have your card swiped, a bit like using the old
paper bankcard system.

A visit to a specialist will cost you anything from $100 to $150, but after the medicare refund the actual cost is appprox $50.

Dental work is expensive. I've just paid $545 for five fillings and a clean. If I had private cover, I'd maybe get $300 back, but there is a limit to how many refunds they give per year, per family, so I'm much better off just paying the price.

Hope this helps: http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/abo ... dicare.htm
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UK 457 visa health cover

Postby nathanielwmead » Tue 30 May 2006 04:04 GMT

I have been doing some research on health care here in Australia for 457 visa Brits. Important points to note are:

- we pay 1.5% Medicare levy on taxable income despite the fact we only get limited "immediately necessary" treatment (as Aus have a reciprocal arrangement with the UK).

- Ordinarily if you earn over 50k you would pay a Medicare levy surcharge of 1.0%. However, if you are a member of a local Australian health fund then you are exempt from this.

- Australians (full residents, citizens etc) can obtain a rebate of 30% on health care premiums. However, this is only available on 'domestic type policies'. i.e, not for 'overseas visitor, type cover.

In summary....whoever complained about the good old NHS
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Medicare and Private Health insuance Rebate

Postby nataliedixon » Wed 30 Apr 2008 17:17 GMT

Hi there I'm an ozzie now living in the UK and looking to move back there with my family.

There is a tax break if you decide to take out private health insurance. It is the govt's attempt to take some of the pressure off the National Health Service.

As an Ozzie I've got to say that I have never had any concerns about obtaining health services.

I would say if you can afford it and are of an age where you may need more service go private if you can. As a visitor you will be treated at any hospital and bulk billiing doctors free of charge.

If you have kids or are prone to X treme sports subscribe tothe Ambulance service very cheap and worthwhile.
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Postby pmforster » Thu 8 May 2008 14:34 GMT

For the time being I am sticking with just the Medicare card. I don't know of any doctors in Darwin that do Bulk Billing.

However, does anyone know of insurance that JUST covers dental work and/or an ambulance service. I've got a feeling such a thing doesn't exist, but I thought I'd ask...

Peter Forster
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Link to Bulk Billing Doctors in Australia

Postby nataliedixon » Thu 8 May 2008 15:01 GMT

Hi there - oh you're in Darwin. Here is a link to some Bulk Billing Dr's in Darwin. [Link removed by Site Admin.]
I think you can get Dental insurance only. Yes dental is killer in oz. The Ambulance insurance I took out was a direct subscription to the Ambulance service itself. It was very cheap from memory. Love the top end but those summers are just a killer aren't they.
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Postby pmforster » Thu 8 May 2008 15:23 GMT

Thanks for the link - very handy.

I'll keep looking for ambulance/dental cover then...

It gets a bit warm during the wet, but the sunsets and the electrical storms are really great - it's not boring.

Peter Forster
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Dental Insurance

Postby KiwiRoo » Fri 6 Jun 2008 01:05 GMT

Hello!

So, can anyone recommend a dental insurance for Australia?

Thanks!
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Postby peterj » Fri 6 Jun 2008 14:13 GMT

I'd be very happy to be proved wrong, but as far as I have been able to work out it's only available as an extra on full medical insurance, and with dubious value at that. There is a $100 pa for fixed fees at participating dentists scheme, but research suggests that the "benefits" suggested may be a bit overstated.

When I lived in Broken Hill I was a member of a local dental "insurance scheme" run by the Mines/Town dental clinic which gave affordable treatment in return for an annual subscription, but I'm not aware of any similar schemes elsewhere.

One possibility for new migrants is to take out a years travel insurance from your home country before you leave, and possibly extend it once you are here. I was able to that with an Aussie co whilst overseas over the last couple of years.

Last thing is on the medicare levy surcharge. As long as it passes the senate, the cut in point for the extra 1% is going to be raised to $100,000 for singles/$150,000 for couples/families.
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Postby peterj » Wed 2 Jul 2008 13:04 GMT

I spotted an insurance co online today that appears to cover dental and a few other things only, however the payout is only 65% (with long waiting times too) and the annual premium (for me) was $500, so I doubt it's worth having. Company is NIB.
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Postby Jany » Fri 23 Dec 2011 18:19 GMT

Yeah, the process is kind of tedious. My best advice is to get your hands dirty and make a lot of calls to see what works for your situation. I have found that usually with a little "finagling" you can get something worked out. It will likely be an arduous process though.

[Link removed by Site Admin. Please read the guidelines.]
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