Get health insurance for a working holiday in Australia
The 417 working holiday visa lets you travel and work in Australia for up to a year. Since most overseas visitors aren't covered fully under Australia’s public healthcare system (if at all), you should consider your health cover.
Health insurance is not a mandatory requirement for the visa itself, but you almost certainly want to make sure you have some kind of health cover. Without it, a single spider bite, car accident, slip and fall, accident while working or anything else might lead to thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
Australian health insurance companies offer “overseas visitor health cover” (OVHC). This is health insurance specifically designed for temporary residents, like people on working holidays, in Australia.
Compare visitors health insurance
*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 May 2018 but are subject to change in the future.
How does it work?
You can simply apply online with an Australian health insurance provider that offers OVHC.
Not all OVHC is the same however. You’ll find differences in cost and cover. Like most things, there are cheap basic ones and expensive high quality ones.
Some of the things to look at while comparing policies include:
- How much of the hospital bills it covers: OVHC should generally cover at least 85% of the “MBS”. The MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) is basically a list of thousands of different medical treatments one might receive in hospital, and how much the essential version of each costs. It’s probably a good idea to look for a policy that covers 100% of the MBS rather than just the minimum.
- Extras cover: Some policies will offer extra cover like visiting a doctor or dentist, prescription medication, and other services or treatments outside of hospital. Working holidays can see you staying in Australia for 6 months, or even a full year if it’s a second visa, so it can be a good idea to have this option available.
- Additional benefits: Policies may include additional benefits like more cover for medical repatriation, funeral expenses and others. Repatriation is probably the most important additional benefit, and is found with most policies.
- Cost: All the differences in cover mean there are differences in cost.
What kind of cover is good for a working holiday?
It all depends on the situation. If you’re after a working holiday, it’s safe to say you’re looking at a pretty active and busy trip, with some manual labour among it, so a policy that covers 100% is likely a good idea. This can be found even with cheap and basic policies.
OVHC policies with extras like dental cover, or visits to the doctor’s office are often considerably more expensive. If you think you’re likely to need it, have certain health issues or want the security of knowing you can go see a doctor without paying for it all out of pocket, it might be worth paying extra for a policy that offers extras.
Additional benefits are often “worst case scenario” things, like funeral expenses and medical repatriation. Repatriation cover is a good idea, and easy to find even with cheap policies.
Consider the type of cover you want, then compare options from different insurers to find value for money.