820 Visa Applicants: Did you know you can enrol in Medicare?

20 Nov

When I submitted my Partner Visa (820 onshore), I received an acknowledgement letter that granted my BVA, a receipt, and another document that went over some information. That document said “some partner visa applicants may be allowed to enroll in Medicare.”

I’m blaming my American (read: no government-funded health insurance) background here, but it never crossed my mind that I could possibly be eligible to enroll in Medicare while I was still NOT a citizen and NOT a permanent resident. My eyes must have just passed over that sentence and disregarded it. So I thought I’d put this information out there for anyone else who might be in the same position.

People applying for the Partner Visa (820) ARE eligible for Medicare!

It’s just so crazy to me, I had to read over the Medicare website about ten times before I believed it. Here’s what the website says. You are eligible if:

  • You have applied for a permanent visa.
  • You have permission to work in Australia
  • OR you can prove a relationship to an Australian citizen.

As all of those apply to me, I filled out the enrolment form and took it to my local Medicare facility (in this case, in the shopping centre just down the road from our house). For supporting documentation, I brought my passport, a copy of my acknowledgement letter, and our marriage license. There weren’t any issues–just waited for a few minutes, presented my documents when I was called up to the counter, waited a few minutes for all of the information to be put into their database, and I was given a receipt that has my Medicare card number on it–the physical card will be in the mail in a few weeks. Easy!

So what does Medicare do for you? Quite a lot! Most relevant to me at the moment is that it covers optometry tests, but not the actual glasses or lenses, from what I can understand. It also covers many doctors visits, public hospital visits, x-rays, etc. A list of what Medicare does and does not cover can be found here.

If you haven’t gone out and enrolled in Medicare yet, I definitely recommend that you do so. It’s fast, easy, and it can’t hurt to have some extra coverage if something happens.

If you’re interested in finding out more about my partner visa journey, check out the following links.


27 Responses to “820 Visa Applicants: Did you know you can enrol in Medicare?”

  1. birgitnjulian March 6, 2014 at 6:12 am #

    Your blog is great! That’s great news with the Medicare. I’m currently in the process of applying for the 820 visa myself and it really helps reading that I’m not the only one who hasn’t got a huge list of evidence (I also agree with you about the forums!). Thank you!

    • inkhearted March 6, 2014 at 6:21 am #

      I’m so glad you’re finding my blog helpful! I will say, the forums are a fantastic place to find ideas for information to include–but they completely freaked me out when it came time for me to apply because we didn’t have much evidence at all in comparison to a lot of people! Luckily it didn’t seem to matter in the end.

      And yes, being able to get Medicare was a huge relief to me. I hope your application process goes smoothly! Fingers crossed for a quick approval. 🙂

      • birgitnjulian March 6, 2014 at 6:32 am #

        Thank you 🙂 yeah, the forums were definitely helpful when it comes to more ideas what to include. I didn’t have much at all before I stumbled over a forum and I still thought it would be enough haha. Made me feel like back in school when you’ve studied for a test and you think you are well-prepared and then talk to class mates who are much better prepared and you feel like: “What??! I haven’t even read that anywhere!?”
        I also just read your article about the health examination, also really helpful 🙂 I have that coming up in a couple of weeks…

      • inkhearted March 6, 2014 at 11:00 am #

        Haha! That’s the perfect way of putting it. Definitely like back at school!

        I’m glad the health post helped you out. Definitely not anything to worry about there. Hope yours goes smoothly!

  2. Julia May 3, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    Hi, I haven’t got any letter of acknowledgement , do you think I can apply just with my receipt ? As I applied online and just read your blog that my witnesses have to fill the form of statutory declaration .

    • inkhearted May 3, 2014 at 8:00 am #

      Hi Julia,

      I’m not sure if a receipt would allow you to get Medicare, but you could certainly try. So you haven’t received an acknowledgement letter because your statutory declarations aren’t in? From what I was reading on different forums it sounds like the online application should give you an acknowledgement letter as soon as you pay, but I could be wrong about that–I didn’t apply online myself. You might want to ring immigration just to see if your acknowledgement letter is on its way, just to be safe.

      • Julia May 9, 2014 at 12:16 am #

        Hi, I have got my acknowledgement letter this afternoon telling they have got my application and told they haven’t assessed yet the valid. Does the acknowledgement letter that I can use to apply the Medicare?

      • inkhearted May 9, 2014 at 7:13 am #

        I believe that you can use that acknowledgement letter to get Medicare. If they say you need more documentation, first ask for a manager; if the manager says you need more documentation, then maybe contact Immigration and ask what you need. I know I just went in with an acknowledgement letter but I can’t remember whether or not it said “not assessed as valid.” I think you should be fine.

      • Julia May 9, 2014 at 9:00 am #

        Yup, I will try as I need the Medicare for now. The acknowledgement letter is statement that they have received my application and still on process of checking the valid. They will contact if it is valid. Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.

  3. Willa May 21, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    My husband applied 820 visa. However the medicare people told us that 820 applicants are not eligible for medicare, medicare can only be granted when the visa’s granted. Confusing.

    • inkhearted May 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      They’re wrong. If they told you that, ask to speak to a manager and get it sorted. You could even print out the criteria on the link I provided and hand it to them. You definitely haven’t been the only person to be told an 820 applicant isn’t eligible–it’s so frustrating that some of the medicare officers aren’t informed about this! Tons of people have gotten medicare after applying for an 820 though, so it’s definitely possible.

      Check out this thread on a visa forum if you want more tips and tricks: http://www.australiaforum.com/visas-immigration/26682-medicare-when-you-can-apply.html

      Let me know how it goes!

      • Julia May 21, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

        Yup, that’s definitely wrong, I have got my Medicare number and got the card 2 weeks after. And I can use the benefit of having Medicare too. But just wondering I haven’t got my acknowledgement letter about Bridging visa. As my visa will due 3 June and I submitted my application 1 May. Do you think I need to send also the copy of my document through mail?

  4. Nasif June 28, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Your blog is great…..I got so much info from your blog….Thanks a lot 🙂

    My question:

    “OR you can prove a relationship to an Australian citizen.”

    What if the applicant has relationship with an permanent resident? Will he/she be eligible for medicare?

    • inkhearted June 29, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Hi Nasif! I believe the same policy applies to partners of permanent residents who have applied, but I’m not 100% sure. It’s definitely worth going to your local Medicare facility and asking!

  5. taylor July 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    thanks so much for your self! I was wondering do you happen to know anything about the bridging visa b as well!? I am in need of some advice.. I call up the department agency all the time for these little questions and I find lots of the people I speak to are of no help. let me know if you have been through the process of applying for the bridging visa as well.. thanks!

  6. jacquelyndent July 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been doing so much research on health coverage with private insurers and I was over it. I just found your blog tonight and will enrol in Medicare soon. Thanks 🙂

  7. Lighthunter August 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Dude, same happened to me. I couldn’t believe that I am eligible and 7 months after my bridginf visa was granted passed that I found out… during that time I continued to pay my private health insurance for nothing. Medicare would have covered it in full anyway.

    Worst is that I called my private health insurance when I just got the bridging visa and they told me BS and didn’t mention Medicare at all. 100% sure they knew I was eligible. On top I now have to pay Medicare levy surcharge because this private health insurance is not registered to exempt me from the surcharge. What a big waste of money that was and I mainly blame the insurance not telling me…


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