The Department of Health has declared that holders of the new regional visas will be ‘treated as being an eligible person’ for the purposes of the Health Insurance Act. This means that migrants on the new Subclass 491 and 494 visas will now be able to apply for Medicare to cover their stay.
Comparison to current visas
The 491 replaces the 489 visa. Under the 489 visa, applicants had no access to Medicare which means they had to pay for their medical treatment. With the new announcement, 491 visa holders will be able to visit the doctor or go to hospital and have some or all of the expenses covered by Medicare.
The current 482 program requires visa holders and their families to hold adequate health insurance for the duration of their visa. Only those from countries with reciprocal health care arrangements can access a Medicare card. However, the new 494 regional employer sponsored visa allows all holders access to a Medicare card.