Dept of Human Services statement on Kiwis being denied Medicare cover

07 October 2016

The Department of Human Services issued a statement in response to the Radio New Zealand story on Kiwis being denied Medicare cover.

As the statement notes the Health Insurance Act says: “Australian resident ” means a person who resides in Australia and who is: 
(c) a New Zealand citizen who is lawfully present in Australia” All New Zealand citizens who reside six months of a 12 month period are eligible for Medicare, regardless of whether they apply for, or are granted or denied a permanent visa.

The DHS Medicare site has now amended the incorrect wording regarding New Zealand citizens who have applied for a [parent] permanent resident visa not being eligible for Medicare.

Medicare enrolment for New Zealand citizens

Statement from the Department of Human Services

  • There have been no changes to eligibility for New Zealanders to enrol in Medicare.
  • The concerns raised appear to relate to the administrative requirements which are triggered when a person’s permanent residency status changes. These requirements are not limited to New Zealanders. 
  • New Zealand citizens who reside in Australia can be eligible for Medicare in the following two ways:
    • They hold a Special Category visa (Subclass 444), which is a temporary visa that lets them stay and work in Australia as long as they remain a New Zealand citizen, or
    • They have applied for permanent residency visa (conditions apply). 
  • In cases where the application for permanent residency status changes, we are notified by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
  • This notification triggers an automatic letter to the customer letting them know what they need to do to retain access to Medicare.
  • In this instance, cards are not immediately revoked. The letters include instructions to provide documents to confirm their ongoing Medicare eligibility.
  • If they do not provide these documents within 30 days, their Medicare card will be cancelled and they will need to contact us with the required documents to have it reinstated.
  • In the individual cases reported, eligibility for Medicare was confirmed upon the administrative requirements being met and the matters have been resolved.
  • More information about Medicare enrolment for New Zealand citizens (including the types of documents that need to be provided as proof of residency) is available on the Services Australia.

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