Diabetes information for overseas visitors and new arrivals
This article is part of a series from our Diabetes Educators to answer questions we are frequently asked.
If you have friends or family members in other countries who have diabetes and are planning to come to Australia soon, this information is for them!
Medicare Australia is the universal health care scheme in Australia that is funded by the Federal Government. Australian citizens and permanent residents are entitled to Medicare which allows them access to treatment from medical practitioners and subsidised medications through the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS). Australians with diabetes are eligible for subsidised consumables through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).
Depending on your entry visa to Australia you may be eligible for Medicare. The Medicare page of the Department of Human Services website has information for new arrivals to Australia. If you are eligible to enrol for Medicare, you are automatically eligible for PBS.
Once you have your prescription from your doctor you just need to present it and your Medicare card to any pharmacy to receive your medications at the subsidised cost.
If you have a Medicare card and have diabetes you can apply for the NDSS. With the NDSS card you will can obtain strips for your meter at a subsidised cost, and insulin needles free of charge. You can obtain these from participating pharmacies, or from Diabetes WA including online supplies. There is no cost to join the NDSS.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you will need to ensure that you have adequate private health insurance that will cover the cost for your medications including insulin.
Finally, it’s worth contacting the maker of your blood glucose meter to check whether the meter and the strips you are currently using are conducive to being used in Australia and if the strips are available here. In some countries the meters read in mg/dl whereas in Australia we read in mmol/L.
People with type 1 diabetes may find this travel blog useful.
If you have any further questions, feel free to call one of our diabetes educators on 1300 001 880.