Australia is an extremely popular destination with backpacker and Longstay travellers alike, however journeys like this are expensive, and it is important that you save your money for the things you really want to do, rather than wasting it on expensive medical bills.

If you’re travelling to Australia, it is important that you enrol in their Medicare programme, just in case you need medical attention abroad. To help anyone planning a trip to Australia, please see our frequently asked Medicare questions below;

What is Medicare, and why do I need it?

Medicare works similarly to the EHIC in Europe, you receive a personalised card which gets you discounted or free public health care and medicines in state Australian hospitals – hence why it is so important. It should ensure that you receive medical treatment similar to the NHS in the UK; however you may still need to pay towards some medications and treatments. If you do need medical treatment during your time in Australia, always head for a state clinic or hospital, to avoid paying fees at private hospitals.

Who is eligible for Medicare?

Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with several countries around the world, including the UK, which means that any Brits traveling to Australia can apply for Medicare and receive essential medical treatments.

Why do I need travel insurance if I have Medicare?

It is important to remember that, just like the EHIC, Medicare is not meant to be a replacement for travel insurance. Medicare is there to make sure you receive the medical treatment you need in state facilities, without having to pay extortionate fees. However, Medicare will not be able to assist if your baggage is damaged or stolen, or if you need to be repatriated to the UK. You must invest in quality travel insurance to make sure you are fully covered in Australia.

I take medication, should I just fill my prescriptions in Australia?

We would always suggest that you take a good supply of your prescription medication abroad with you, just to make sure you have enough for your time away, and in case you cannot obtain your medication in your destination.

However, it is important to remember that Australia has strict customs regulations about what can and can’t be brought into the country, and some prescription medications are on this list. Always check customs regulations, as well as local laws before you travel, just to make sure you don’t face any issues before your holiday has even begun!

How can I get a Medicare card?

To enrol in Medicare you will need your passport and a valid visa. You can apply by visiting and downloading an enrolment form. Alternatively, you can apply by visiting a Medicare office (there are hundreds all over Australia) up to 10 days after you arrive, to register for the programme.

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