Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

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?

  • We don't ask for your phone or email to see prices.

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

  • You pay the same price as going direct – we charge no fees.

Start comparing for freeStart comparing for free

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.

Why you can trust Finder's health insurance experts

free

We're free

Our health insurance engine is completely free to use. You pay the same as buying directly from the health insurer. Better still, we regularly run exclusive deals that you won't find on any other site.
expert advice

We're experts

We've researched and rated hundreds of policies as part of our Finder Awards. We've published 250+ guides and our in-house experts regularly appear on Sunrise, 7News and SBS News.
independent

We're independent

Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and you can compare nearly every health fund in Australia on the site (and find a better deal).
help

We're here to help

Since 2014, we've helped 350,000+ people find health insurance by explaining your options simply. We'll never ask for your number or email to see prices. We're here to help you make a decision.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

Go to site