Compare health cover for visiting academics and the temporary activity visa
Note: The Visiting Academic subclass 419 visa has been discontinued. Academic visits are now covered under the subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa.
If you’re coming to Australia on a subclass 408 visa, you are required to have adequate health cover for your stay. This usually means having overseas visitor health cover (OVHC). This is Australian health insurance designed for visitors from overseas.
What sort of visitors health insurance do you want to compare?
*Pricing is based on a single male planning to live and work in the State of New South Wales on a working visa who is not applying for permanent residency, is not from a country that Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with and is not eligible for cover under Medicare. Prices reflect the April 1 premium rise and are accurate for February 2018 but are subject to change in the future.
How to find and compare OVHC policies
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.