Permanent residency health insurance

A new permanent resident in Australia? If so, you now have the same Medicare benefits as citizens. But also like citizens, it's worth considering if you need private health insurance.

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Do permanent residents need private health insurance in Australia?

As with Australian citizens, private health insurance isn't mandatory for permanent residents. Australia also has a public healthcare system called Medicare which can help you afford basic or necessary medical services. However, if you can afford it, you can derive the same benefits from private health insurance as anyone else, including:

  • Avoiding payment of the Medicare surcharge levy and reduced tax expenses
  • Wider cover for treatments that aren't included under the public healthcare system, such as chiropractic treatment
  • Reduced waiting periods for specialist procedures and treatments compared to the public system
  • If you're under 31, you won't have to pay age loading expenses if you choose to take out health insurance later in life

Compare private health insurance

These policies from Finder partners all offer great value for money if you're looking for a hospital + extras health insurance policy. All results and prices are based on a single person living in NSW.

Name Product Hospital treatments Extras included Hide More Info Button Hide CompareBox Price Per Month Apply
HCF My Future Basic Plus
    • 14 hospital services
    • Ear, nose and throat
    • Joint reconstructions
    • Dental surgery
    • $600 Combined extras limit
    • Physiotherapy
    • Chiropractic
$94.45
HCF members can get loyalty rewards and discounts across Australian stores.
Frank Freedom Saver Flexi-Bundle (Basic+)
    • 9 hospital services
    • Plus theatre surgery costs and shared or private room
    • Emergency ambulance
    • $700 combined extras limit
    • Plus 100% back on $150 Optical
$100.05
HBF Bronze Hospital Plus + Flex 50
    • 28 hospital services
    • Ear, nose and throat
    • Joint reconstructions
    • Dental surgery
    • $800 Combined extras limit
    • Physiotherapy
    • Chiropractic
$111.77
ahm lite flexi bronze plus
    • 24 hospital services
    • Ear, nose and throat
    • Joint reconstructions
    • Dental surgery
    • $800 Combined Routine dental
    • Physiotherapy
    • Chiropractic
$130.60
Get up to $200 off.
Medibank Bronze Everyday + Top Extras
    • 19 hospital services
    • Bone, joint and muscle
    • Eye (not cataracts)
    • Hernia and appendix
    • Ambulance services
    • $800 General dental
    • $200 Optical
$141.05
Get up to 40,000 points + Waive 2 & 6 months waiting periods. Promo Code: LIVEBETTER. T&Cs apply.
Qantas Silver Hospital + Lifestyle Extras
    • 32 hospital services
    • Emergency ambulance cover
    • Dental surgery
    • Palliative care
    • $600 General dental
    • $350 Physiotherapy
    • $300 Chiro & Osteo
$166.05
Get up to 120,000 points + Skip the waits for 2 & 6 month waiting periods.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

Compare your health insurance options

Simply select your details below to compare your options from over 30 Australian health funds online.

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