Who can get it
To be eligible for Medicare under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), you must be both:
- a citizen of Italy
- eligible for Italy’s national health insurance on the day you enter Australia.
You’ll need to enrol in Medicare to get benefits.
If you’re here on a student visa you’re eligible.
The RHCA doesn’t apply if you travel to Australia for medical treatment.
You may be able to get medical treatment in Australia under the RHCA if you needed treatment during your voyage or flight to or from Australia.
This includes if your voyage or flight is diverted to Australia.
If you’re in Australia for a short time and don’t need medical care, there’s no need to enrol.
If you’re a diplomat
If you’re a diplomat, you and your family are eligible to enrol in Medicare while you’re posted here.
This means the cover under the agreement will apply for as long as you’re in Australia.
If you’re not eligible for Medicare
If you’re not eligible for Medicare, you can’t claim a benefit for treatment you have in Australia. If you need to lodge an income tax return in Australia, you may be eligible for a Medicare levy exemption. This applies if you weren’t eligible for Medicare for all or part of the financial year. You’ll need to get a Medicare Entitlement Statement from us to do this.
Read more about the Medicare levy exemption on the Australian Taxation Office website.
The agreement covers:
- medically necessary care out of hospital
- medically necessary care as a public patient in a public hospital including inpatient and outpatient services
- some PBS prescription medicines at the general rate.
Read more about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
How to enrol in Medicare
Enrol in Medicare by following these steps:
- Completing a Medicare enrolment form.
- Mailing or emailing your form and supporting documents to Medicare Enrolment Services.
Find out more about how to enrol and get started in Medicare.
Documents you need to show if you’re a citizen
You need to show your Italian passport, evidence of your current visa, and either:
- your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with the initials IT
- your Italian Health Insurance Card valid on date of arrival into Australia.
If you can’t provide an EHIC or an Italian Health Insurance card, you can give us a statutory declaration that says you can get medical and hospital care under Italy’s national health law.
When your cover starts and ends
Your cover starts the day you arrive in Australia.
It ends after 6 months or when your visa expires, whichever comes first.
If you get medical treatment in Australia before you enrol in Medicare, you might get a Medicare benefit for it.
Once you enrol, submit your claim. We’ll then be able to tell you if you can get a benefit under the agreement or not.