If you are a parent or you are sponsoring your own parents to come to Australia on the 870 sponsored parent visa, you may need to find some form of private health cover to satisfy the requirements of your visa. This is to ensure that while in Australia, you'll be covered if you suddenly need medical attention while on your trip.
Overseas Visitors Health Cover
Will you need overseas visitor health cover?
Going on the 870 visa means it's likely you'll need to get Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC). This is health insurance tailored to temporary visas and for people who aren't covered by Medicare.
OVHC pays towards the cost of many prescription medicines and an ambulance in an emergency. It covers the same hospital and extras (out of hospital) treatments that are covered by Medicare. That means it doesn't generally cover you for services such as dental, optical or physio. If you want to get cover for these services, you can take out extras (sometimes known as ancillary) cover.
If a health care provider offers OVHC, make sure it's 100% compliant with the comprehensive coverage required for the 870 visa. If a provider does offer OVHC, many can be upgraded to give you extras cover as well. This is a good idea for those on the 870 visa as older parents are more likely to require comprehensive health care.
The 870 Sponsored Parent visa is a temporary visa that's primary function is to allow the parents and grandparents of migrants to come visit, stay and live in Australia for either 3 or 5 years.
It's set up for individuals who may find it difficult to return home to visit their parents. Especially for those just starting their careers in the country, it's often easier for parents to travel to Australia and spend time there. It's ideal for retired parents or those who can afford to take more time off work.
While some visas are only valid once, the 870 can be applied for again after another 5 years, which means you could spend up to 10 years living in Australia. However, parents must spend a short period of time outside of Australia before re-applying.
What are the visa requirements?
In order to meet the visa requirements, you must be biologically related or adopted. You can also be a step-parent or parent-in-law of the Parent Sponsor. It's essential your child is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and is at least 18 years old.
You need to have an approved Parent Sponsor before you're able to lodge this visa application and it has to be lodged within six months of the Parent Sponsor approval. It must all be done online.
A 3-year visa costs $5,000 while a 5-year visa will cost $10,000. You aren't allowed to work on this visa at all in Australia.
The sponsor (child or grandchild) must also have a taxable income of $83,454.80 or more in order to be able to sponsor their parents for the 870 Sponsored Parent visa. This can include a joint family income, so you meet the requirements if you and your family have an income of $83,454.80 or more.
It's also necessary that you and your children have health cover. The 870 visa comes with a requirement 8501, which means your visa can't be approved unless you have health cover in place. To meet the 8501 conditions, your insurance has to be fully comprehensive, providing you with cover equivalent to or better than Medicare.
How does health insurance work in Australia?
Medicare is Australia's public health care system but is generally only open to Australian citizens and permanent residents. However, Medicare doesn't provide full cover so most Australians have some form of private health insurance.
Australia's health care system can be split into two categories: hospital and extras cover. While Medicare provides some hospital cover for citizens and residents, it doesn't pay for out-of-hospital services like dental, optical or physio. Even if you're eligible for Medicare, you'll probably want some form of extras cover.
Pricing is based on a single live 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.
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
Depending on where you're from, you may be eligible for Medicare under Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA). This pays towards visitors cover for emergency medical costs and medical attention that cannot wait until you've returned home.
Australia has RHCA agreements with the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Malta, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand. If you're eligible for RHCA, then you don't need OVHC. However, RHCAs do not give you access to the same extras benefits as being covered privately.
Ask an Expert