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.
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.