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Health Care in Australia
Australia's healthcare system provides universal access to health care, through the public system, while allowing choice for individuals through a substantial private sector involvement.
As a permanent resident, you will receive immediate entitlement to public healthcare, administered through a government scheme called Medicare. This is an Australia-wide health insurance scheme, funded through income tax - currently 1.5% of everyone's taxable income goes to Medicare.
Through Medicare, you receive:
- free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital;
- free or subsidised treatment by doctors in a general practice; and
- subsidies on some medicines and treatment by participating specialists.
Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance plays an important role in the health care system in Australia, providing about 11% of national health care funding. There are many healthcare funds in the marketplace and each offers a variety of schemes and different levels of cover.
People with private health insurance receive benefits such as choice of doctor, choice of hospital and shorter waiting periods for non-urgent procedures. Private health insurance can also help with the cost of services such as dental, optical, physiotherapy and podiatry services.
All health funds operate "qualifying periods", whereby new customers have to wait a specified period before being eligible to claim non-emergency treatments and services. When comparing health funds, you should pay particular attention to these waiting periods, as they can vary considerably.
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