For months I've made (and heard) the same comment over and over again: “I need enough health care to get me out of the US and into Canada so that I can take advantage of Canada's reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.” It turns out, with a bit of research: that's very wrong.
According to Australia's Department of Human Services, Australia has reciprocal health care agreements with 11 countries: Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Did you catch it? CANADA ISN'T THERE!
While this doesn't sound all that significant, I have heard people mention that they are paying for inferior health care with the safety net of Canada as their justification, and it's clear right now that is not a very good idea!
P.S. If you are traveling in one of these countries, you are entitled to receive help with costs for medically necessary care, which includes:
- emergency care; and
- care for an illness or injury that can’t wait till you get home.
The limitations and details can all be found here, per country. Be sure to know what you're getting into before you wander into a hospital and as always: make sure you have adequate travel insurance!
Update (1/2/18): The Aussie Expat Investor goes into more detail!