Throughout the year, your employer automatically deducts for Australian Medicare, including the Medicare Surcharge, from your taxable income. If you are not eligible to receive Medicare benefits you can claim this percentage back.
You’re not eligible for Medicare in Australia if you:
- are a permanent resident visa holder and:
- haven’t applied for a permanent residency visa
- had your permanent residency visa application withdrawn or refused and you haven’t submitted an appeal
– have been living outside Australia for 12 months or more
– or haven’t come back to live in Australia permanently
You’re also not eligible for Medicare if you:
- are an Australian citizen and have been living overseas for five years or more
- are a New Zealand citizen and spend less than six months in a 12 month period in Australia
- aren’t eligible under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
Ok, the next logical question is, who is eligible under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement?
If you are a citizen or a resident that qualifies for national health care in the following countries, you may be eligible for Medicare in Australia.
- Italy – you don’t need to have been living in Italy, but you must be an Italian citizen and meet the other agreement conditions
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
Please go to the Department of Human Services for how to apply for Medicare and more details on RHCA.
How to Claim Your Medicare Levy Exemption
To claim your Medicare Levy Exemption, you need a Medicare Entitlement Statement from the Department of Human Services.
This is a bit of a hassle as it is a multi-step process and a lot of it seems needless. The best part is you have to do it each year. No, prefill application here, sorry.
To get the statement, you must fill out an Application for Medicare Entitlement Statement form.
Sounds easy enough but wait there’s more.
They recommend you fill out the form electronically. So save it to your desktop then click on the form and type in your answers. Once you have filled out the form entirely, they then want you to print it, sign it, and scan it, if you are going to email the form.
You then need to get certified copies of the following documents.
The photo page of your passport and any of the following documents that apply to you:
- Visa evidence – endorsed in passport, email or letter from the Department of Home Affairs. If you have an email from Home Affairs, then print up the email and also have it saved on your phone, in your email account so that you can readily access it if asked to.
- Letter or email from the Department of Home Affairs confirming an application for permanent residency application has been lodged, refused or withdrawn. If this does not apply to you, don’t worry about it.
- Letter or email from the Migration Review Tribunal confirming an appeal has been lodged against a refused decision. Again, if this does not apply to you, don’t worry about it.
- Copy of the applicant’s European Health Insurance card or other evidence of Health insurance. It must show an expiry date if you live in or from Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, or Slovenia. Yep, doesn’t apply to you, don’t worry about it.
Remember, no joint filing in Australia so you both need to do this for your tax returns.
What is a certified document?
Ah, getting certified copies is going to be part of life as an expat in Australia. I swear I have never been to a justice of the peace, aka notary public, as often as I have while living in Australia.
“A certified copy is a copy of an original document that has been verified as being a true copy after the original document has been sighted by an authorized person.” from the Department of Health and Human Services
Who can certify documents?
There is a long list of people that can certify documents. A few examples include:
- Legal practitioner
- Medical practitioner
- Patent attorney
- Trademarks attorney
- Veterinary surgeon
For a complete list of people who can certify documents, go to here.
Also, check if your local post office can certify copies.
Be aware that some charge a fee. For example, the Australian Post charges $4.95 for the first page then $2.95 for any subsequent pages.
If you choose to go to a retail location such as a pharmacy and they are busy, they will turn you away. It’s best to pick a time outside of peak traffic hours.
Ok, where are we?
- You have your Application for Medicare Entitlement Statement filled out and signed.
- You have your certified copy of the photo page of your passport and all certified copies of any supporting documents that apply to you.
Scan and email your completed application form and other documents as a PDF to [email protected]
Yes, you must send in PDF format if emailing. Make sure the PDF is not password protected.
Or send the lot by post to:
Department of Human Services
Medicare Entitlement Statement Unit
GPO Box 9822
ADELAIDE SA 5001
It can take up to six weeks to process your application, but you do not have to wait for approval to start your tax return with myTax.