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Permanent residency health insurance

Congrats on your permanent residency. Now you're entitled to the same private health insurance cover as your fellow Australian citizens.

So you've just got your permanent residency. Congratulations. Not only have you just got your future in Australia sorted, you're now able to get a regular health insurance policy.

This is good for a couple reasons. You now have much more choice and health insurance tends to be a lot cheaper tha overseas visitor health cover (OVHC).

Why compare health insurance with Finder?

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  • With 1 click, you can open your results to nearly every fund in Australia.

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Do permanent residents need private health insurance in Australia?

Private health insurance isn't mandatory for permanent residents. Australia has a public healthcare system called Medicare which gives you free access to medical services.

So why get private health insurance if you get healthcare for free? There's a few reasons:

  • Avoiding paying the Medicare surcharge levy if you earn over $93,000 a year as a single
  • Reduced waiting periods for specialist procedures and treatments compared to the public system
  • You get to choose your own doctor and you can get your own private room
Gary Ross Hunter

I'm from the UK, so paying for health insurance is a pretty foreign concept to me. I took out health insurance though because my partner and I earned over the $186,000 MLS threshold. It's cheaper to have a policy than pay the surcharge.
— Gary Ross Hunter, insurance expert

How does Medicare work?

Medicare is the name of Australia's national public healthcare system. Under Medicare, you have access to free treatment at public hospitals as well as reduced costs when using a wide range of non-critical health services, like visiting a GP or having a routine eye examination by an optometrist.

Medicare also exists in the form of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which regulates the price of certain prescription medications that may otherwise be unaffordably expensive. In many cases, the PBS may reduce a drug that costs hundreds of dollars to less than 50 for someone who has had it prescribed for them.

What health insurance do I need as a permanent resident?

As an overseas visitor up to this point, it's likely you'll have some form of Overseas Health Cover (OVHC) to save you from outrageous medical expenses while working in or visiting Australia. When you're a permanent resident, though, your healthcare benefits and entitlements change and it's likely that OVHC will either no longer apply or not be the best choice for you.

Once you have your residency, it's a great time to switch from overseas visitor cover to domestic health insurance. The good news is you'll also have a lot more choice.

As a permanent resident, you will automatically qualify for the public health system under Medicare. But, as mentioned above it might still be a smart idea to invest in private health insurance too.

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