If you have diabetes and are planning on moving to or visiting Australia, information about health services support depends on your home country. Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with some countries and you may be entitled to some health services for essential medical treatment.
Some visas from RHCA countries are not covered by the Agreements. You should ensure you fully understand the entitlements of the visa you are travelling on.
More information on the specific visa information is available on the Department of Human Services website.
We encourage all travellers to bring a comprehensive medical history from their doctor, with specific details about their diabetes management; this will ensure access to Australian healthcare is easy and uncomplicated.
Registering with the National Diabetes Services Scheme
If you are eligible for health services in Australia under an RHCA, once you arrive in Australia, you will need to apply for and access subsidised health care using an Australian Medicare card and through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
A Medicare card will allow you access to medical professionals such as a general practitioner (GP) with the payment for the service subsidised. To purchase medications at subsidised rates through pharmacies a GP will provide you with a prescription for diabetes medication, such as insulin. More information on medication costs can be found on the PBS website.
Once you have a Medicare number, an NDSS Registration form can be completed. Your registration form will need to be signed by a registered medical practitioner such as your doctor, endocrinologist or obstetrician, or by a credentialled diabetes educator.
After your registration with the NDSS is processed we will provide you with an NDSS registration number and card. You can present this card at any NDSS Access Point, such as a pharmacy, to purchase NDSS products at the subsidised costs.
More information on the products covered by the NDSS and their pricing can be found in the Products section of the website, here. If you require insulin pump consumables, you will also need to complete a form to determine your eligibility for access to subsidised insulin pump consumables. More information on accessing insulin pump consumables through the NDSS and the form can be found in the Manage Your Registration section of the website.
The process of registering with the NDSS may take some time after arriving in Australia. We encourage you to carry sufficient supplies to ensure continuous management of your health. For more information on the product amounts you may bring into Australia, and supporting medical documentation, please see the Customs and Border Protection website.
Please note the NDSS does not cover insulin, lancets and other products that may be needed for the management of your diabetes. These products can be purchased, either at full retail price or under relevant subsidies, if using a prescription. For this reason, we encourage you to have comprehensive travel insurance which may help in reimbursing the cost of these items. If you are emigrating to Australia, you may also want to explore private health insurance options in Australia to help manage these ongoing costs.
Visiting from a non-RHCA country
If you’re moving or visiting from a country with which Australia does not have an RHCA, or on a visa not covered by the Agreements, you are not eligible for a Medicare card and are therefore unable to register on the NDSS.
Products you may need to purchase will only be available at retail price or via prescription from an Australian health professional. Prices for these are set by the individual pharmacy and as such, we cannot provide any cost estimates.
We encourage you to have comprehensive travel insurance when coming to Australia. You may be able to claim reimbursement for the cost of the items purchased while in Australia. If you are emigrating to Australia, you may also wish to explore private health insurance options.