If you’re coming to Australia for temporary work on a 408 visa, you will be required to have adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay. There are a number of funds that offer visa compliant health cover which is known as overseas visitor health cover (OVHC). You can use this page to compare policies that comply with 408 visa insurance requirements.
What the 408 visa is for and who can get it?
The 408 visa lets travellers come to Australia on a temporary basis to:
- Work in the entertainment industry
- Participate in activities at the invitation of an Australian organisation
- Participate or observe in an Australian research project (this was previously covered by a separate subclass 419 visa)
- Work in a skilled position under a staff exchange arrangement
- Participate in high-level sports competitions or sports training programs
- Participate in a special programme approved by the department that provides opportunities for youth exchange, cultural enrichment or community benefits.
- Do full-time religious work
- Be employed as a superyacht crew member
- Do full time domestic work for certain senior foreign executives
- Participate in a government-endorsed event
To get a 408 visa, you need to have the skills to undertake the relevant activity, be supported or sponsored, and meet specific requirements for each purpose above.
Is health insurance mandatory for the 408 visa?
It's a requirement that you can demonstrate adequate health insurance cover for your stay. Generally this will be in the form of overseas visitor health cover (OVHC). This is a health insurance policy for visitor to Australia.
Most, but not all, OVHC policies will meet the minimum requirements.
If you're from an RHCA country you might have this automatically. But even with it, you might still need overseas visitor health cover (OVHC) depending on the purpose of your visit and what country you're from.
The mandatory level of health cover may depend on the purposes of your visit, and what country you’re visiting from. Generally most OVHC policies will meet or exceed those standards.
How to compare price
Visit a range of Australian health insurance providers to see how much their OVHC costs, but remember to look for corresponding differences in cover.
How to compare cover
There are some specific things to look at.
- Extras and bonuses. Are you covered for doctors and dentist visits, or just hospital admissions? How are you covered for repatriation or funeral expenses?
- Percentage of hospital bills covered: You’ll generally find this as a “percent of MBS.” The MBS is an important part of Australia’s healthcare so it’s worth knowing about.
How the MBS works
The MBS is the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
Medicare is Australia’s public healthcare system, and the benefits schedule is a list of thousands of different essential medical procedures and how much they cost.
When an Australian goes to a public hospital and gets “free” healthcare (covered by Medicare), the MBS is generally the amount that the government pays to the hospital or practitioners to perform the treatment.
So if you find a policy that covers you for “100% of the MBS” that means you’re basically covered for hospital procedures in almost the same way as Australians are covered by Medicare.
Some overseas visitor health insurance might only cover 85% of the MBS, while a lot will cover 100%.
The catch is that sometimes a procedure will cost more than 100% of the MBS, and you may have to pay any difference out of pocket.
This difference is usually known as “the gap” between health insurance and actual costs.
Generally, you’ll be able to find out how much a procedure will cost beforehand, and can look for treatments that won’t leave you with major gap expenses.
Ask an Expert