This is a common question, with implications that can be further-reaching that at first glance.
Medicare is Australia’s Public Health scheme; if you are enrolled in Medicare you can access a range of treatments, including hospital treatments and bulk-billed doctors’ visits, for free.
For some Partner Visa applicants, this is also a critical consideration as eligibility to enrol in Medicare is often a requirement for a person to be added to their Private Health insurance policy.
When you need to provide evidence of private health cover in order to apply for a visa, this has the potential to save you thousands of dollars.
Normally, a person is only entitled to enrol in Medicare if they are an Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident or Eligible New Zealand Citizen. If you have applied for a Partner Visa onshore, you will most likely have a Bridging Visa A – which is not a permanent visa. If you applied from overseas, you will not have a visa associated with that application.
However, this does not mean you are not able to access Medicare.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the responsible agency for administering the Medicare program.
The requirements set by DHS for enrolment to Medicare are:
Applying for permanent residency
For each person you want to enrol, you need to give us a:
- passport, travel document or Immicard
- valid visa, and
- proof from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection you’ve submitted a valid permanent residency application
This includes you if you’ve applied for a combined spouse visa 309/100 or 820/801.
If your visa doesn’t let you work in Australia, you must prove you have a relationship with a parent, spouse or child who’s an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen who lives in Australia. This proof can be a:
- birth certificate
- marriage certificate
- joint bank or utility account statement, or
- proof you own a home together
The summary of the above is that if you have made a Partner Visa application you are eligible to enrol in Medicare, provided the application is valid, you have adequate proof of your relationship and you are in Australia on a valid visa.
We have heard that, in some cases, applicants are being told that they are not eligible for Medicare until after their Partner Visa is granted. This is wrong – if you are told this, ask to speak to a Manager.
You can find the instructions and form to enrol in Medicare here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/how-enrol-or-re-enrol-medicare/36706