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500 Visa Health Insurance

Medicare can't cover most students on the 500 Visa, which is where Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) comes in — compare options from $51/month.

Compare health insurance for a 500 Visa

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Name Product Visa Compliant Smartphone Claiming Private Hospital GP Visits Pharmaceutical Price
Allianz Care Australia Overseas Student Health Cover
$500 ($1,000 for families)
From $51.00 per month

Pricing is based on a single individual living in the State of New South Wales on a visa and is not from a country that Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with and is not eligible for cover under Medicare. Prices are accurate for 2020 but are subject to change.

What you need to know

  • You need to hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or fall into one of the exemption categories for your stay in Australia.
  • The OSHC policies available here are visa condition 8501 compliant.
  • Any family member will also need OSHC before they arrive.

How does health insurance work in Australia?

The Australian healthcare system is a hybrid model meaning citizens need both public and private healthcare in order to receive comprehensive cover. Medicare, the public healthcare system, covers most Australian's healthcare.

But Medicare doesn't cover everything. You can choose to take out private health insurance to give yourself a wider range of health care options and more comprehensive cover.

There are two types of health insurance: hospital and general treatment (also known as extras). Extras aren't covered under Medicare so it's particularly important for people to have this.

Australia also has a special system of health cover for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). It'll help you pay for medical or hospital care you may need while you're studying here.

How to provide evidence of your health insurance arrangements

"If applicants are required to provide evidence of their health insurance arrangements, any the following may be considered acceptable, unless a particular visa subclass instruction requires other specific information:

  • a copy of the insurance policy;
  • a written letter or cover note from an acceptable insurance provider, certifying that the primary visa applicant and any accompanying family members immediately upon visa grant or their arrival in Australia, are, or will be, covered by insurance that is at least as comprehensive as the prescribed adequate level of cover;
  • evidence that the visa applicant has lawfully enrolled with Medicare via Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RCHA);
  • evidence that the primary visa applicant and any accompanying family members immediately upon visa grant or their arrival in Australia, are, or will be, covered by health insurance that is at least as comprehensive as the adequate level of cover required under policy, with the understanding that the applicants will either enrol with Medicare under a RHCA or enrol in a private insurance arrangement after arrival; or
  • for citizens from the Republic of Ireland that may access RCHA, evidence that they hold an Irish passport.

Family members applying separately from the primary visa applicant or visa holder must produce evidence as per above, which clearly indicates that they, as dependant applicants, will be covered upon arrival in Australia by a policy with an adequate level of cover."

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— Kaku Caro is a lawyer in LegalVision's Corporate Immigration team. He has previous experience in the areas of commercial litigation, corporate and personal immigration. He also has experience advising on visa eligibility and preparing visa applications such as partner visas, employer-sponsored work visas, parent visas, and general skilled migration visas.

What's included in OSHC?


Hospital fees

OSHC can cover the same hospital and out-of-hospital treatments that are covered by Medicare, including accommodation, certain prosthetic devices and a shared ward in a private hospital.


Doctor fees

If you need surgery or treatment in hospital, OSHC can help pay towards the cost of doctor, surgeon and specialist fees.


Ambulance fees

It can pay for the costs of an ambulance in an emergency. Ambulance services aren't generally free in Australia.

Private contract

Prescriptions and GP consultation fees

OSHC contributes towards the cost of most prescription medicines (for example, $50 per script with a limit of $300 per year) and GP consultations if you need to see a doctor.

Many OSHC policies also cover a wider range of treatments, including out-of-hospital services such as optical and dental.

Do 500 visa holders need OSHC?

You're not required to have OSHC if you're a student from Belgium, Norway or Sweden thanks to a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) Australia has with these countries.

RHCA are designed to help visitors cover emergency medical costs or access medical attention that can't wait until they've returned home. Most students however, won't be covered. This means you could find yourself substantially out of pocket. Hospital fees can be over $1000.

Having reciprocal access to Medicare does not exempt you from needing to take out OSHC so you still may be required to take out cover.

FAQs about the 500 visa

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