I have a question regarding medical insurance on arrival in Australia. Here is my situation.

I have received permanent resident visa for Australia and will be moving there next month for taking up a job at a university (I applied and received said visa from Germany and have never been to Australia before). My employer states that I am eligible for Medicare which is the social healthcare in Australia. However, Medicare application forms require information about bank account and home address, both of which I can only apply for once I am in Australia.

So what do I do for medical insurance in the meanwhile? Typical timeline for Medicare is about a month and therefore I need private medical insurance cover for the first two months. Any suggestions on what medical insurances I can apply for (and what covers)? The Australian system seems to be complicated with different hospital/extra covers.

I have been unable to find suitable information on this topic and so any inputs/web-links are extremely welcome. Thank you!


1 Answer 1


A few points:

  1. If you have access to free international calling try ringing up Medicare:

+61 2 8633 3284 Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm AEST

International call charges apply.

Wait times can be long.

  1. Medicare timeline. This was five years ago but it definitely didn't take a month. We submitted our application at the local office and if I remember correctly they gave us a printout to show we were covered from that day forward and the plastic cards arrived later by post.

Edit: I checked online and this page says:

When we receive your completed enrolment form and supporting documents, we’ll process them and let you know when you’re enrolled.

You’ll then get your Medicare card in the mail in 3 to 4 weeks.

No mention of application processing time.

  1. Some Australian banks allow you to open accounts from overseas.

  2. Choosing a private health insurance provider and plan (and indeed whether to get private health cover at all) will of course depend on your personal circumstances and risk profile. If you're only after GP visits, for example, private health doesn't cover that.

These government pages are a good start:



(The government has informative web pages on a broad range of topics)

Once you know what you want you can do a comparison on either the provider websites or the government one (second listed above has a wizard). Ask your employer if you qualify for any of the restricted providers so you have more choices. Providers offer different plans for visitors, temporary residents, and permanent residents/citizens so make sure you look at the right ones.

  • 1
    Thanks a lot for the detailed tips. I will definitely call the medicare number at the earliest and hopefully things work out.
    – UPS
    Mar 24, 2023 at 12:13
  • @UPS good luck!
    – jcm
    Mar 24, 2023 at 23:52

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