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‘They leave without paying a brass razoo’: Brad Hazzard proposes compulsory tourist health insurance

Luke Grant

In a bid to clampdown on NSW taxpayers footing the medical bills of foreign tourists, there is a proposal to make health insurance a compulsory prerequisite for temporary visa eligibility.

It’s suggested nearly $30 million is being forked out by the state’s taxpayers to subsidise the medical treatments of overseas visitors, who leave the country without paying the bill.

Around 16,000 foreigners require hospitalisation each year in NSW at a cost of $100 million.  Around $70 million is paid for by the patient or their insurer, but $30 million remains unpaid.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has written to his state and federal counterparts, stressing that making health insurance a mandatory requirement for all temporary visa classes is the way to protect the taxpayer from having to cover the cost.

“It really is a very serious issue,” Mr Hazzard tells Luke Grant.

“Because $30 million is a lot of money that we could use to be providing other services for residents and taxpayers in NSW.”

“At the moment, we are having people come from overseas with either no travel insurance or inadequate travel insurance.  I’m not sure you can call it fair, because the taxpayers are picking up the bill and some of these people are leaving the country without paying a brass razoo.”

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview

Luke Grant
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