Medicare is Australia's public health care system and covers many health care costs. Residents can choose whether to have Medicare cover only, or a combination of Medicare and private health insurance. Citizens and most permanent Australian residents are eligible for Medicare. Everyone who lives in Australia, excluding Norfolk Island, is eligible for a Medicare card provided that you:
And also provided that you:
- have applied for a permanent visa, excluding an application for a parent visa;
- have permission to work in Australia; or
- can prove you have a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
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Medicare card colours explained:
A GREEN Medicare card is the standard Medicare card for Australian citizens and permanent residents. This card is issued to individuals or families who are eligible to receive a rebate of medical expenses under the Australian Medicare system when they are treated privately by a doctor with a provider number.
A YELLOW Medicare card is for visitors from reciprocal countries. The countries with reciprocal health card agreements are: New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. Visitors from these countries are covered immediately for necessary health care in Australia, because these countries cover Australians in the same way when they visit their country.
A BLUE Medicare card is a visitor or interim card, for a person who has temporary residency and is applying for permanent residency. There are no restrictions on these cards, except that they are usually issued for a twelve month period. The expiry date must be checked for validity.
Still confused? Here's a quick video to help you get your head around it.