If you're a recent graduate and coming to Australia on a 485 visa to live, study and work after you have finished your studies, you will be required to purchase overseas health cover for the duration of your stay. This is to make sure that if you require medical assistance while you're here, you'll be covered. It's also a great way to protect yourself from large medical bills should the unexpected occur during your stay!
Health.com.au, HIF, Australian Unity and Nib all offer cover on the 485 visa. From as little as $65 per month, these brands will make sure you are covered for the important things, should you stay in Australia after completing your studies. Like many policies in Australia, dental & optical generally come under extras. The main features include:
- Pregnancy cover
- Emergency ambulance cover
- Medical repatriation (up to $10,000 benefit)
- Options available for singles, couples and families
How does health insurance work for families and couples?
Regardless of whether it's you or your partner applying for a visa, you both need health cover. That's why it's worth considering a Couples policy. It's convenient and provides you and your partner with one policy under the same insurance provider. After all, if you live together, lead similar lifestyles and have a shared income, Couples cover is a practical and logical option. They offer slightly more expensive policies that provide a more comprehensive level of hospital cover and also allow you to add extras cover.
Young couples considering starting a family in the near future should strongly consider a higher level of cover. If you're planning on starting a family and want to be covered for birth-related services, you should get insurance well ahead of time. Many policies have a 12 month waiting period for pregnancy and birth-related coverage in private hospitals so its essential you get cover beforehand.
Until your children turn 18, they are considered dependents and are automatically covered under a family health insurance policy. Family policies help cover major dental work when your kids grow older, as well as hospital bills should they get hurt or injured.
What happens if you transition to citizenship?
For anyone who becomes a citizen, you’ll have access to Medicare. Whilst this covers you for the basics – things like emergency services – it’s really worth looking at more comprehensive cover should you be settling in to stay here long-term. Remember, things like dental and optical care not covered by Medicare, so it’s worth looking into extras cover.
You'll also be able to switch to domestic health insurance, which offers more choice and is available to Australian residents. With over 600 health insurance policies to choose from, there are a lot of options out there to suit your individual needs.
What determines adequate health insurance under the 485 visa rules?
The 485 visa health insurance requirements are the same as those for the 457, or Temporary Work (Skilled), visa. Under condition 8501, to be granted a visa you must have a minimum level of private health insurance cover in place.
These types of policies are typically referred to as Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) and they are offered by a select group of private health funds. To satisfy the conditions of your visa, an OVHC policy must provide cover for certain features, including:
- Treatment as an inpatient in a public hospital
- Hospital accommodation, theatre fees, intensive care fees and ward drugs
- Emergency department fees that lead to an admission
- Admitted patient care and postoperative services
- Surgically implanted prostheses
- Pharmaceuticals listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Medical services with a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item number
- Medically necessary ambulance transport
It’s important to check the fine print of any OVHC policy to make sure it matches all the relevant requirements of the 485 visa.
What is the 8501 visa condition?
Visa condition 8501 requires you to “maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance during your stay in Australia”. It applies to most temporary Australian working visas and all student visas, and is designed to ensure that foreign visitors can meet any hospital or medical treatment costs they incur while in Australia.
If this condition applies to your chosen visa, you will need to purchase health insurance cover in order for your visa application to be approved. Working visa applicants need to take out Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) while student visa applicants must purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
Which visas are affected by the 8501 visa condition?
Many temporary visas include the 8501 condition regarding health insurance, such as the 457 temporary work (skilled) visa and the 485 temporary graduate visa. Condition 8501 also applies to all student visas, but Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students are exempt from this requirement under Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.
Contact the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection to find out whether the health insurance requirement affects you.
What's the cheapest health insurance for a 485 visa?
Below you can find Finder partners offering visitor health cover in order of cheapest first. Prices quoted are based on a single policy:
The benefits of maintaining a higher level of cover and extras you can choose
When you shop around for OVHC you will find that most private health funds offer an affordable policy that only satisfies the bare minimum of the health insurance requirements for the 485 visa. If you’re on a tight budget or only want cover for the absolute essentials, these types of policies will do just fine.
However, most health funds also offer slightly more expensive policies that provide a more comprehensive level of hospital cover and also allow you to add extras cover. Choosing one of these higher-level policies means you are covered for many more features, including:
- Treatment in a private hospital
- Your choice of doctor or specialist
- No excess or co-payment for public hospital stays
- Cover for medical repatriation
- Gap cover to eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses
- Shorter waiting periods
- Extras benefits including optical, dental, physio, chiro, natural therapies, podiatry, health management programs and much more
- Cover for high-cost medical procedures, for example, pregnancy and eye lens surgery
- Cover for psychiatric services and rehabilitation
So while high-level cover costs more, the benefits it offers could be well worth the expense. It’s important to shop around and find a policy that meets all your requirements.
What exclusions apply to OVHC policies?
Although cover differs between health funds, there are specific treatments and procedures that are commonly excluded from OVHC policies. These include:
- Assisted reproductive treatments
- Elective cosmetic treatments
- Bone marrow and organ transplants
OVHC policies must also feature only the following waiting periods:
- 12 months for pre-existing conditions
- 12 months for pregnancy
- 2 months for psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
A range of other high-cost medical procedures are also commonly excluded or available with only a limited level of cover on OVHC policies. These include:
- Heart surgery
- Eye lens surgery
- Joint replacements
- Pregnancy and birth-related services
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Psychiatric and rehabilitation services
Transitioning from a student visa to a 485 visa
If you’re holding a valid student visa when you apply for a 485 visa, you will already be covered by Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as a requirement of your student visa. The OSHC you have in place is an acceptable level of health insurance to apply for a 485 visa, and you’ll need to supply evidence of this cover along with your visa application.
However, while your application is being processed, you will need to take out 485 visa-compliant health insurance. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will contact you during processing to request evidence that you have taken out an adequate level of OVHC.
Finally, it’s important to remember that under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreements in place between their countries and Australia, Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students are not required to take out OSHC. However, if transitioning to a 485 visa, these students will need to take out OVHC.
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