High earners face an extra tax unless they take out private insurance, and costs for private insurance rise incrementally once an individual reaches the age of 30. A high proportion of the population — around 50% — has private insurance. For most, this is in addition to Medicare.
There are three basic types of private insurance: hospital insurance, ‘extras’ and ambulance insurance. Hospital insurance provides cover in private hospitals with private doctors. Extras include things like glasses and dental costs. Ambulance insurance provides cover as emergency vehicles are not covered by Medicare (except in some states).
Individuals who are not resident in Australia but who may be working on a visa would not normally be entitled to Medicare in Australia — instead, the individual is required to take out their own private policy. It should be noted that some visas dictate that the policy must be one of the “registered private healthcare policy providers” and places the onus on securing this healthcare on the employee.
If an employee on a working visa doesn’t have access to the state system and is taken ill or hospitalised, this can be very costly for them and the state may well levy these charges on the employee. It’s, therefore, important to ensure employees on a visa have the requisite insurance in place.