Cruising has become a popular way to travel for many Australians.
In fact, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), one in 19 Aussies jumped on board a cruise ship last year.
If you’re one of many seeking to set sail in the near future, there’s an important loophole to be aware of.
If you become sick and need medical attention while on board a cruise, Medicare won’t cover you.
“Unfortunately Medicare won’t cover you when you’re on a cruise ship; it doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of the Pacific or just departing the shores of Australia with land still in sight,” Ash Zaman from Travel Insurance Direct (TID) told news.com.au.
“As the doctors on board are generally registered internationally, your Medicare card is no good on board.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smart Traveller website says, “Medicare benefits are only payable to cruise passengers if you are travelling between two Australian ports, with no intermediate stops outside Australia, and services are provided by a Medicare-eligible doctor.”
As a result, anyone embarking on a cruise should purchase “international” or “cruise” travel insurance – even if they aren’t technically leaving Australia.