Medicare Benefits Schedule - Note AN.0.6

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Patient Eligibility

An "eligible person" is a person who resides permanently in Australia. This includes New Zealand citizens and holders of permanent residence visas.  Applicants for permanent residence may also be eligible persons, depending on circumstances.  Eligible persons must enrol with Medicare before they can receive Medicare benefits. 

Medicare covers services provided only in Australia.  It does not refund treatment or evacuation expenses overseas. 

Medicare Cards

The green Medicare card is for people permanently in Australia. Cards may be issued for individuals or families. 

The blue Medicare card bearing the words "INTERIM CARD" is for people who have applied for permanent residence. 

Visitors from countries with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) receive a card bearing the words "RECIPROCAL HEALTH CARE". 

Visitors to Australia and temporary residents

Visitors and temporary residents in Australia are generally not eligible for Medicare and should therefore have adequate private health insurance. 

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Australia has RHCA with New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Belgium Slovenia and Malta. 

Visitors from these countries are entitled to medical treatment while they are in Australia, comprising public hospital care (as public patients), Medicare benefits for out of hospital services and drugs under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).  Visitors must enrol with the Department of Human Services to receive benefits.  A passport is sufficient for public hospital care and PBS drugs. 


· Visitors from Ireland and New Zealand are entitled to public hospital care and PBS drugs only, and should present their passports before treatment as they are not issued with Medicare cards.

· Visitors from Italy and Malta are covered for a period of six months only. 

The RHCAs do not cover treatment as a private patient in a public or private hospital.  People visiting Australia for the purpose of receiving treatment are not covered.  Visitors from New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland are NOT entitled to optometric treatment under a RHCA.


  • Assist - Addition/Deletion of (Assist.)
  • Amend - Amended Description
  • Anaes - Anaesthetic Values Amended
  • Emsn - EMSN Change
  • Fee - Fee Amended
  • Renum - Item Number Change (renumbered)
  • New - New Item
  • NewMin - New Item (previous Ministerial Determination)
  • Qfe - QFE Change