Coming to Australia? Find health insurance if you are on a 457 Visa.
If you're moving to Australia, you need to make sure that you're going to be able to get adequate medical treatment should you need it.
While there are some countries that have agreements in place that grant their citizens access to our Medicare system, this level of care may not be enough.
Luckily, 457 visa health insurance is a great option.
Looking for 457 visa health insurance? Speak with an adviser
Complete the form and you'll be contacted by a consultant for an obligation free discussion about your health insurance options.The consultant will work with you to compare a range of health insurance providers which may include:
Who needs health insurance for a 457 Visa?
If you are planning to work in Australia on a 457 visa, you will need to take out health insurance as a condition for obtaining your visa. Condition 8501 requires that 457 visa holders and their families have a minimum level of health cover for the duration of their stay in Australia. The only exception to this is visa holders who come from countries which have reciprocal health care agreements with Australia. These countries are:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- The Republic of Ireland
- The United Kingdom
Also, Medicare only covers 457 visa holders for medically necessary treatments for ill health or injuries that occur while they are in Australia, so many visa holders choose to take out health cover as well to fill in the gaps.
Who offers health insurance for people on 457 visas?
HCF Overseas Visitors Health Cover offers comprehensive health insurance cover for 457 visa holders, as well as international visitors on a 456, 417, 419, 405 or 422 visa. It covers accommodation in a participating HCF hospital, theatre fees, special care unit and 100% cover for government-approved prostheses.
State government emergency ambulance cover is also included, along with physiotherapy and pharmaceuticals related to your admission, and doctor’s charges for in-hospital treatment. Three choices of excess are offered – $0, $500 or $1,000 – to help you reduce your premium.
You can also add optional extras cover to your policy to provide cover for the cost of dental, optical, physio, chiropractic, osteopathy, natural therapies and more.
nib offers a wide range of Overseas Visitor Health Cover options through its subsidiary, IMAN Australian Health Plans. These products satisfy 457 visa requirements and are available to singles, couples and families.
Designed to suit the differing budgets and cover needs of applicants, these policies provide cover for ambulance services within Australia, public and private hospital accommodation, and offer repatriation and funeral benefits.
Extras cover is also available with Mid Visitor Cover and Top Visitor Cover policies, and you can find more information on each of the cover options in the section on IMAN Australian Health Plans below.
Frank Minimum Working Visa Cover is designed to be affordable and as simple to understand as possible. It covers public and private hospital fees, medical repatriations, emergency ambulance and in-patient doctor’s fees. A hospital admission excess of $500 per person per year applies to singles policies (up to $1,000 per family per year on a family policy), while a private room co-payment of $100 per night (up to a maximum of $700) also applies.
Excluded and restricted treatments include assisted reproductive services, organ transplants and extras services.
HIF offers three policy options to suit the needs of 457 visa holders:
- Essentials Working Visa. This entry-level option is designed to be affordable and offer the minimum cover required to qualify for a visa. It covers ambulance costs, shared room accommodation in a public hospital, intensive care fees, theatre fees, repatriation (up to $4,000) and more.
- Intermediate Working Visa. This is HIF’s most popular visitors cover option and it covers trips to your GP, ambulance costs, pharmacy drugs, and treatment in a shared room of a private hospital. A maximum of $6,000 of repatriation cover is included.
- Comprehensive Working Visa. This top-level cover is designed for those who want complete protection while in Australia. It covers accommodation in a private room of a private hospital, your choice of doctor, GP visits, ambulance costs, and repatriation up to $8,000. An optional $500 excess is available to reduce premium costs.
IMAN Australian Health Plans
A subsidiary of nib, IMAN offers the following health insurance options to overseas visitors:
- Budget Visitor Cover. This low-priced option covers 100% of private and public hospital accommodation and treatment when you are admitted to hospital, with no excess payable. Restricted benefits are offered for services such as pregnancy and psychiatric treatment, while assisted reproductive services and organ transplants are excluded from cover.
- Value Plus Visitor Cover. This policy provides medium-level hospital cover for hospital accommodation and treatment costs for everything from accidental injury to pregnancy, while out-of-hospital visits to GPs and specialists are also covered. Organ transplants, assisted reproductive services and other treatments are excluded.
- Basic Visitor Cover. This option offers a basic level of hospital cover and provides access to doctors for day-to-day treatment needs. Some services such as pregnancy are restricted, while extras cover is available for prescription medicine costs.
- Mid Visitor Cover. Designed with active people in mind, this policy provides public and private hospital cover, ambulance cover, and cover for out-of-hospital GP visits. Extras cover is available for prescription medicine, physio, chiro, osteopathy and artificial aids.
- Top Visitor Cover. IMAP’s most comprehensive health cover option for international visitors, this policy covers 100% of hospital accommodation and treatment costs, ambulance services and out-of-hospital GP visits. It also offers extras cover for physio, optical, major dental, occupational therapy, natural therapies and more.
Medibank Working Visa Hospital Insurance covers all services for which a Medicare benefit is payable, including:
- Ambulance services
- Private hospital accommodation, or public hospital accommodation as a private patient
- Doctors’ fees for in-hospital medical services
- Drugs listed on the PBS
- Surgically implanted prostheses
A $300 hospital excess applies per person per calendar year, while a repatriation benefit is only offered at the discretion of Medibank.
Australian Unity offers the following health insurance options to overseas visitors who are 457 visa holders:
- Budget Workers Cover. This policy is designed to be affordable and offer a basic level of financial protection. It covers overnight accommodation, day surgery and theatre fees in public hospitals, medically necessary ambulance services, and in-hospital doctor and specialist consultations. There is no cover for any treatment received in a private hospital.
- Workers Cover Plus. This high-level policy offers full cover for the cost of treatment in a public or private hospital, out-of-hospital consultations with doctors and specialists, in-hospital pharmacy and some medications out-of-hospital, as well as medically necessary ambulance transportation. There is limited cover for pregnancy and psychiatric services at agreement private hospitals and no cover is available for fertility treatments or organ transplants.
Bupa offers the following policy choices to overseas visitors:
- Essential Visitors Cover. Offering a medium level of cover, this hospital-only policy provides cover for inpatient and outpatient medical services, as well as 60% cover for outpatient pharmacy benefits.
- Essential Plus Visitors Cover. Providing combined hospital and extras cover, this policy is designed to be affordable and offer a medium level of cover for private hospital and medical expenses. Cover is also available for visits to a doctor or specialist in private practice, along with ambulance cover, $100,000 of repatriation cover and dental, optical, physio and other general treatments.
- Gold Visitors Cover. This hospital-only policy provides top-level private hospital and medical cover for a wide range of services, as well as cover for ambulance services and outpatient pharmacy benefits. $100,000 of repatriation cover is also included.
- Platinum Visitors Cover. The highest level of visitors cover available from Bupa, Platinum Visitors Cover offers combined hospital and extras cover. It offers top-level private hospital and medical cover with no excess, as well as generous benefits for extras such as dental, optical, physio and more.
Who is responsible for my health costs?
When you apply for a 457 visa, you are responsible for taking out your own health insurance. The only exception to this is if you were issued a visa prior to 14 September 2009, in which case your sponsoring employer must maintain health insurance on your behalf.
Employers who fail to meet their obligations in this regard can be barred from using the 457 visa program or have their sponsorship cancelled, but they are ultimately only responsible for insuring the principal visa holder and those family members covered prior to 2009.
If you have a child after 2009, for instance, that dependant would not be the responsibility of your employer and you would need to take out health cover for them yourself. If you change jobs and therefore sponsors, your new sponsor would become liable for your health cover, but only if you hold a 457 visa issued before 2009.
If your health cover is included in your employment contract, which is often the case, you may be required to pay back any health insurance premiums your employer has paid on your behalf if you leave their employment.
What to look for in 457 Visa Health Insurance
You can work in Australia for up to 4 years on a 457 visa, during which time you may apply for permanent resident status if you wish. You can bring your spouse and dependants with you to Australia, but they too must have adequate health cover. So what is adequate health cover?
According to the 457 visa conditions, it must include benefits at least equivalent to public hospital cover and must include ambulance cover, cover for all PBS listed pharmaceuticals and all medical services listed under the MBS. Evidence that a 457 visa applicant has taken out adequate health cover must be in the form of a letter from the insurance provider or from a sponsoring employer, stating that the applicant and their family have obtained the necessary insurance.
What is and isn’t covered?
If you are a 457 visa applicant from one of the countries which has a reciprocal health care arrangement (RCHA) with Australia, you can apply for cover under Medicare. This entitles you to:
- Free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
- Subsidised medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Medicare benefits for treatment by a GP
If you don’t qualify for Medicare, you must take out private health cover that is at least equivalent to cover under the public health system. However, as this is only basic coverage, you may wish to increase your level of insurance to include some of the benefits not covered by Medicare. If you want more than just basic cover from you're 457 visa health insurance, look for benefits including:
- Choice of hospital and doctor
- Private room
- No excess for public hospital visits
- No co-payments for public hospital stays
- Cover for medical repatriation to your country of origin
- Gap cover to cover the difference between what is charged and what you get back
- Minimum waiting periods
- Ambulance cover
- Ancillary benefits such as optical, dental and physiotherapy
Health insurance consists of two main areas: hospital cover and extras cover. Both can be as comprehensive or as basic as you wish. Some optional extras that are excluded in basic hospital cover, but that you may want to include a more comprehensive policy are:
- Pregnancy and birth related services
- Assisted reproductive services
- Cataract and eye lens procedures
- Joint replacements
- Dialysis for chronic renal failure
- Cardiac related services
- Non-cosmetic plastic surgery
- Psychiatric services
- Palliative care
Basic extras cover provides cover for ancillary services such as optical and dental, but if you want more comprehensive extras cover than this, you can include things like:
- Major dental (braces, dentures, crowns, root canal work etc)
- Non-PBS pharmaceuticals
- Hearing aids
- Natural therapies
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Remedial massage
What limitations do 457 Visa holders face
Most 457 visa health insurance policies contain restrictions (limited benefits for certain services) and exclusions (no cover for certain services), which is why it’s important to read the fine print on any policy you are considering. Some of the most commonly restricted or excluded services include:
- Cardiac and cardiac related services
- Cataract and lens procedures
- Pregnancy and birth-related services
- Assisted reproductive services
- Hip and knee replacements
- Rehabilitation and psychiatric services
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery
If you require any of these services at a later date, you may find yourself having to pay for them yourself. So rather than choosing a policy with lots of restrictions and exclusions in order to save money, a better way to keep your insurance affordable is to choose to pay a higher excess instead. One area where restrictions can be particularly detrimental is pre-existing medical conditions.
While 457 visa health insurance providers are not allowed by law to exclude cover for pre-existing conditions, the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 allows them to impose a waiting period of up to 12 months before any benefit will be paid.
This waiting period can be particularly difficult for 457 visa holders because, while an Australian permanent resident can always use the public health system if their pre-existing condition requires urgent treatment, a 457 visa holder cannot, unless they are from one of the countries with a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.
What if my visa status changes?
If your visa status changes while you are working in Australia, you will need to notify Immigration and seek their advice, as you may be able to apply for another type of visa that allows you to remain in Australia. To find out more, you should visit the Department of Immigration website.
Can I cancel my health insurance once I obtain my 457 Visa?
As mentioned previously, Condition 8501 of a 457 visa requires the holders of visas issued after 14 September 2009 to maintain adequate health cover for the duration of their stay.
If you were to cancel your health cover after being granted a 457 visa, you would be in breach of this condition and your visa could be cancelled. Compliance with this condition is monitored by the Immigration Department, using information supplied by insurers, so if you wish to remain in Australia, you would be wise to maintain your health cover.
Can I cover my family on the same policy?
As a 457 visa holder, you are entitled to have your spouse and dependants with you in Australia for the duration of your stay. However, they too must have adequate 457 visa health insurance, either under the same policy as you, which is perfectly acceptable, or under separate policies. If they are covered under separate policies, they must provide evidence of having obtained adequate cover prior to entering Australia.
Will I need any other kind of insurance?
Even if you have taken out the minimum 457 visa health insurance, it is a good idea to take out travel insurance as well, at least in the interim period of moving to Australia.
Travel is fraught with unforeseen risks, such as cancelled flights and lost or stolen valuables, so having those risks covered by travel insurance (plus medical and hospital cover until you arrive in Australia), makes good sense. And if you’re travelling with your family, most insurers cover dependent children for free, making it an even more affordable option.
Tips on health insurance for visitors
- Check your visa requirements. Whether you’re applying for a 457 visa or any other visa subclass, check the fine print of the documentation provided by the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This will help you understand any insurance requirements that apply to your visa.
- Reciprocal Health Care Agreements. If you’re visiting Australia from a country with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, such as the United Kingdom, Italy or Sweden, you may not be required to take out health insurance. This is because you can access subsidised medical treatment under Australia’s public health system.
- Choose the right policy. Make sure to choose a policy that offers 457 visa-compliant Overseas Visitor Health Cover. If you’re unsure whether a policy is suitable, check with the health fund.
- Check the restrictions and exclusions. Read policy documents closely to find out whether any services are restricted or excluded from cover altogether. This will help you understand the level of cover your policy offers.
- Know your waiting periods. Most insurers impose a 12-month waiting period before you can receive treatment for pre-existing conditions, while other waiting periods apply to specified conditions and services. Check with your insurer to find out the details of the waiting periods on your policy.
- Consider the highest level of cover. Choosing the highest level of hospital cover you can afford will provide much-needed financial protection for a wide range of medical services, providing ultimate peace of mind.
- Tell your health fund when circumstances change. If you’ve changed visas or your Medicare eligibility has changed, tell your health fund immediately as your health insurance policy may no longer be suitable.
- Keep your premiums up to date. If you fall behind on premium payments, your health fund may refuse any claims and cancel your policy.
- Contact your fund if you need treatment. If you need to undergo treatment, contact your fund to find out whether you will be covered and to what level.
457 Visa requirements
To obtain a 457 visa to work in Australia, you must have an adequate level of health insurance cover in place for the duration of your stay. For most people, this means you will need to purchase private health insurance cover from one of the many Australian health funds that offers 457 visa medical insurance.
Always take out travel insurance when travelling within or beyond Australia
Travel insurance is designed to offer protection against a wide range of risks that you may be exposed to while travelling. These include:
- Emergency hospital and medical cover. If you suffer an accident or illness on the way to Australia (outside the jurisdiction of your 457 visa health insurance), you will be covered in other countries, where health care can be extremely costly.
- Medical repatriation. Cost of returning you to your country of origin if necessary due to illness or injury.
- Emergency dental treatment. For the relief of sudden and acute pain; not covered under your 457 visa health insurance policy, unless you opted for major dental.
- Interruption of journey. If your sponsored job falls through or your journey is disrupted due to some other reason, the costs associated with returning home would be covered.
- Personal liability. If your actions result in the injury or death of another person, your liability is covered (usually up to $20 million).
- Loss, theft or damage to property. If your valuables and belongings go missing or are damaged during transit to Australia, the cost of replacing them will be fully or partially covered.
- Rental vehicle excess. If you hire a car when you first arrive in Australia and are involved in an accident, this will cover the excess you would normally have to pay the rental car company, regardless of who was at fault.
A good way to find good travel insurance, wherever in the world you are travelling to Australia from, is by going online and using one of the insurance comparison sites to compare and evaluate policies.
Speak with an adviser about taking out 457 visa health insurance
Want to speak with an adviser about getting health insurance as a 457 Visa holder? Speak with an adviser now.