Australian Healthcare


Australian citizens and permanent residents have a public health system called Medicare that they pay for through their taxes. This means that when they have treatment or surgery in a public hospital as a public patient it doesn't cost them a cent. Medicare subsidises some non-hospital treatments and health expenses as well.

Medicare covers things such as:

  • Treatments as a public patient in a public hospital.
  • Part of doctors and specialist consultation fees.

Medicare is only available for Australian citizens and permanent residents. For people who are in Australia from a country who has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), partial Medicare is available for essential medical procedures.

Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement

Some countries have a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHCA) with Australia that entitles their citizens to Medicare eligibility, but even citizens who are eligible for Australian Medicare under an RHCA are only covered for public hospital treatment that is medically essential and cannot wait until you get home. RHCA's do not cover treatment in private hospitals.

Working or temporary graduate visa visitors to Australia who want private hospital cover in Australia (or who are citizens of countries that do not have an RHCA with Australia) must obtain a Department of Immigration-approved overseas visitor health cover such as one of Frank Overseas Visitor Health Cover’s before they arrive in Australia.

Countries with Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements

Participating RHCA countries are:

You can find out more information on the Australian government site.

If you are eligible for reciprocal Medicare, you should consider maintaining your Frank cover too. Your Frank cover will ensure you are covered for non-essential admissions, like investigative procedures, as well as emergency ambulance services and private hospital admissions.

Medicare Levy Surcharge

Overseas visitors who have reciprocal health care agreements may be required to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge if they earn over the threshold. The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is a surcharge on individuals and families on higher incomes who don't have eligible hospital cover.

The MLS is an additional tax that needs to be paid if you don't have eligible hospital cover and have a taxable income over $93,000 as a single or $186,000 as a couple/family. It can be up to 1.5% extra tax depending on your income.

People may have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge if they or any of their dependants do not have eligible cover and they are:

  • A single person - without dependent children - with a taxable income (including any reportable fringe benefits of $1,000 or more) greater than $93,000.
  • A family - including a couple and single parent - with a combined taxable income (including any reportable fringe benefits of $1,000 or more) greater than $186,000 (increasing by $1,500 per dependent child, after the first child).

Frank's Overseas Visitor Health Covers are not eligible hospital covers when it comes to the Medicare Levy Surcharge and will not exempt an overseas visitor from paying the tax (if their taxable income is above the listed amounts)

Non-hospital treatment and other health expenses

A second type of private health insurance, extras cover, helps cover the cost of healthcare-related expenses charged by non-hospital healthcare professionals such as dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, physiotherapists and more. Medicare usually does not cover non-hospital treatments and services such as these.

Frank’s Mid Plus Bundle can help offset some of the cost of services like these as it has an element of extras cover attached to the product. If you are needing to see a dentist or physio, you can simply swipe your Frank membership card and benefits will automatically apply to the provider, so you only have to pay the difference between what the provider charges and what Frank has paid. Frank’s Mid Plus Bundle allows you to claim up to 65% back on the following services: General Dental, Optical, Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Remedial Massage, Acupuncture & Myotherapy.

Just keep in mind there are limits to how much you can claim as well as waiting periods that you may need to serve before you claim on these services. Check out Frank’s Mid Plus Bundle here