Reciprocal Heath Care Agreement


There is a Reciprocal Heath Care Agreement (RHCA) in place between the Australian Government and a number of different countries including the Republic of Ireland. This means that holders of a Republic of Ireland passport can get some essential medical treatments while visiting Australia. This is relevant for persons who are resident of the Republic of Ireland during the duration of their visit to Australia. (e.g. people in Australia on Subclass 417 and Subclass 457 visas). This link clarifies the persons entitled to care under the agreement and the healthcare services which persons are entitled to. It also gives a step by step process for the claiming back of your medical expense from Medicare.

As noted on the Human Services Government website, Reciprocal Health Care Agreements are not designed to replace private travel health insurance for overseas travel. Click here for further details:

Public Health service in Western Australia are provided by WA Health

Private Health Care

The level of recommended travel health insurance and private health insurance requirements under different visa types will vary. The Australian Government Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website provides useful information on health policies available in Australia.

Please take some time to review the website, especially the FAQ’s section which clarifies topics in relation to health insurance requirements / options for different Visa holders.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is an Australian Government program that subsidises medicines to make them more affordable.  The Australian Government and Irish Government have set up a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) in which Irish people are eligible to receive benefits under the PBS.

The PBS Schedule lists all of the medicines available to patients at a Government-subsidised price. If your prescription is included on the PBS Schedule simply show your passport when lodging your prescription to claim the PBS benefits. Under the PBS, the maximum cost for a pharmaceutical benefit item at a pharmacy is $36.10 for general patients.

Refer to the PBS website for more information


Each suburb in Perth has a selection of Medical Centres and services available for the public use. The price to avail of services will vary with each centre and depend on service used.

A full list of hospitals in Australia is available from the website A search can be completed on the website for hospitals in your local area / suburb. Familiarise yourself with the location of your local A&E Department.


Medicare is Australia’s universal healthcare insurance scheme. A percentage levy is deducted from workers salary’s to contribute to the scheme.

The list below is taken from the Medicare website identifying what Medicare usually covers:

  • free or subsidized treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists, dentists and other allied health practitioners (in special circumstances only)
  • free treatment and accommodation as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital
  • 75 per cent of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital (does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines)
  • some health care services in certain countries

Medicare Exemption Certificate

It is worth noting that the benefits of Medicare are dependent on the type of Visa that you are working in Australia on. If you are not eligible for Medicare, you can apply for an exemption from paying the levy in your income tax return.