Travellers on cruise ships could out of pocket after a visit to an on-board doctor as more cruise line operators employ foreign doctors who do not recognise the Medicare system.
Despite The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel website saying Medicare benefits are payable for people “travelling between two Australian ports”, many have been left hefty medical bills unaware that they were not insured by the health system.
A spokesperson from Carnival Australia, owner of P&O and Princess, has said “There has never been an expectation that only Australian doctors with Medicare provider numbers would be employed on cruises between Australian ports.”
The Australian Department of Health said the medical arrangements on cruise ships are matters for the ship’s operator, but even so they are under “no obligation” to employ Medicare-eligible doctors.
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