Advice: Do I need medical insurance in Australia?

Last updated 11:02 06/06/2014

Is medical insurance necessary when holidaying in Australia? If you have a travel question, email us at travel@stuff.co.nz.

Q. Hi, Is it necessary to have travel insurance when visiting Australia, particularly medical insurance? Is there reciprocal medical care? What are possible medical costs for Kiwi travellers if they get sick?

A. There is a reciprocal health care agreement for NZ citizens visiting Australia which provides some cover but not all, things like doctors' appointments, out of hospital medical treatment, ambulance transport and medical evacuations are not covered. 

On this basis the NZ Embassy and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs still recommend that Kiwis travel to Australia with comprehensive travel insurance. 

The cost of medical treatment is wide and varied so I can't give you an answer to this part of your question but an ambulance may take you to the closest hospital and if that happens to be a private hospital and you aren't admitted for treatment then you'll have to pay for this private care which can be very pricey, on top of the cost of the ambulance trip. 

We always recommend customers take out travel insurance at the same time as you make your first payment for your travel arrangements, then you will be covered if for example you became sick and could no longer travel as almost 40 per cent of travel insurance claims are actually made prior to people departing New Zealand and if you haven't taken out an insurance policy you could be up for significant cancellation costs.         

Julia Paley, General Manager Short-haul, House of Travel.

Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment below.

If you have a travel question, email us at travel@stuff.co.nz and we'll get the experts at House of Travel to provide the answer. Not all questions will be answered.

- Stuff

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