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Bridging visa health insurance

Getting health insurance while on an Australian bridging visa

An Australian bridging visa is a temporary short-term visa designed to allow non-Australian citizens to remain in the country while they are waiting for their visa application to be processed, or while they are arranging to leave Australia. But if you hold a bridging visa, is it possible to qualify for private health cover? Read on to find out.

Compare health cover for bridging visas

Details Features
Basic Working Visa
  • From $69.00 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public hospital (shared room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($4,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 670 891 Get Quote More info
Essentials Working Visa
  • From $92.10 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public hospital (Shared room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover (public hospital)
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($4,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 670 891 Get Quote More info
Budget Workers Cover
  • From $85.70 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public hospital (shared room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover (public hospital)
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($20,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 453 378 Enquire Now More info
Value Plus Visitor Cover
  • From $106.17 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation
Call direct 1300 452 198 Enquire Now More info
Budget Visitor Cover
  • From $75.62 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras
  • Pregnancy cover (restricted benefit)
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation
Call direct 1300 452 198 Enquire Now More info
Details Features
Intermediate Working Visa
  • From $107.45 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (shared room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($6,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 670 891 Get Quote More info
Mid Workers Cover
  • From $120.85 per month*
    • Working visa compliant
    • Public & private hospital (shared room)
    • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover (restricted benefit)
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($20,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 453 378 Enquire Now More info
Basic Visitor Cover
  • From $138.67 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras
  • Pregnancy cover (restricted benefit)
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation
Call direct 1300 452 198 Enquire Now More info
Details Features
Comprehensive Working Visa
  • From $228.00 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($8,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 670 891 Get Quote More info
Comprehensive Working Visa ($500 excess)
  • From $188.95 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($8,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 670 891 Get Quote More info
Workers Cover Plus
  • From $186.15 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation ($20,000 benefit)
Call direct 1300 453 378 Enquire Now More info
Overseas Visitors Health Cover
  • Enquire now for pricing
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras (available separately)
  • Pregnancy cover
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
Call direct 1300 748 974 Enquire Now More info
Top Visitor Cover
  • From $322.83 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras (included in policy)
  • Pregnancy cover (family policy only)
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation
Call direct 1300 452 198 Enquire Now More info
Mid Visitor Cover
  • From $273.00 per month*
  • Working visa compliant
  • Public & private hospital (private room)
  • Dental & optical extras
  • Pregnancy cover (restricted benefit)
  • GP (doctors) visits cover
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Medical repatriation
Call direct 1300 452 198 Enquire Now More info
*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 are accurate for 2017 and are subject to change.

Different types of Australian bridging visas

Bridging visas are temporary visas that allow you to stay in Australia after your current substantive visa ends and your application for a new substantive visa or permanent residency is processed. There are several types of bridging visas available:

  • Bridging Visa A. Allows you to stay in Australia while your current visa ends and your new visa application is being processed.
  • Bridging Visa B. Allows you to leave and return to Australia while your new visa application is being processed.
  • Bridging Visa C. Allows you to stay in Australia while your new visa application is being processed (and you do not already hold a substantive visa).
  • Bridging Visa D. Applies if your substantive visa has ended and you need to stay in Australia lawfully for a short period of time until you are able to make a substantive visa application, make arrangements to leave Australia or are granted a Bridging visa E.
  • Bridging Visa E. Lets you lawfully stay in Australia after your substantive visa has ended and while you make arrangements to leave, finalise your immigration matter or await an immigration decision.

Australian bridging visas and health insurance

Your health insurance requirements while staying in Australia under a bridging visa will depend on the visa you’re applying for, or whether you are applying for permanent residency:

  • If you’re applying for a student visa, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) will meet your cover needs. However, Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students can opt out of taking out OSHC and instead be covered under their respective countries’ Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) with the Australian Government.
  • If you’re applying for a 457 visa, you’ll need 457 visa-compliant Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC).
  • If you’re applying for a 485 visa, you’ll need 485 visa-compliant OVHC.
  • If you’re applying for any visa with condition 8501 (a requirement that you take out health insurance), 457 or 485 visa-compliant OVHC will meet your requirements. Other types of OVHC may also be suitable.

Finally, if you’re applying for any other visa, you can purchase OVHC if you are unable to access any form of Medicare benefits or if you have access to reciprocal health care benefits through an RHCA between your country of origin and Australia. If you have an interim or full Medicare card, you can purchase a private health insurance policy for Australian residents.

OSHC, OVHC or Medicare: What’s covered?

OSHC is designed to help international students cover the cost of medical and hospital care they receive while in Australia. This type of cover is a mandatory requirement for overseas students residing in Australia on a temporary student visa. OSHC provides a financial safety net for international students, including cover for:

  • GP visits
  • Inpatient medical services
  • Shared accommodation in a public or private hospital
  • Day surgery accommodation
  • Limited pharmaceutical benefits
  • Ambulance services
  • Extras services such as optical, dental and physio (can be purchased for an additional cost)

OVHC is designed for most overseas visitors who hold a temporary visa. It covers a portion of the medical expenses they incur while in Australia, including:

  • Medically necessary admissions to hospital
  • A portion of doctor’s fees
  • Ambulance transport
  • Some pharmaceuticals
  • Extras services such as optical, dental and physio (can be purchased for an additional cost)

Medicare forms the basis of Australia’s public healthcare system. It provides free or subsidised cover for a range of medical services, including:

  • Medically necessary public hospital treatment
  • Visits to a general practitioner
  • Referrals to specialist doctors
  • Medical tests
  • Prescription medication included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

However, there are plenty of medical expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover, including treatment in a private hospital, ambulance costs, a portion of doctors’ bills and extras benefits such as optical and dental treatment. To receive cover for these expenses you will need to take out a form of private health insurance. In addition, many temporary visa holders are not eligible for cover under Medicare, so they need to apply for a special form of private health insurance that meets their cover needs.

What is the 8501 visa condition?

The 8501 visa condition, also referred to as health insurance requirement 8501, requires student visa holders and many working visa holders to maintain an adequate level of health insurance cover while in Australia. Cover must be in place for the duration of your stay and if you fail to make the necessary arrangements, your application for a visa will be refused.

Which visas are affected by the 8501 visa condition?

Condition 8501 applies to several popular visas, including:

  • 457 temporary work (skilled) visa
  • 485 temporary graduate visa
  • Most temporary working visas
  • All student visas (Norwegian, Belgian and some Swedish students are exempt from the requirement due to Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with the Australian Government)

Australian insurers offer two types of policies to satisfy condition 8501: Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) or Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to find out whether condition 8501 applies to you, and make sure the policy you choose satisfies the requirements of the condition.

How do you apply for OVHC, OSHC or Medicare?

If you need to apply for OVHC, you can purchase cover from health funds and general insurers based in Australia, or choose a policy issued by an insurer in another country. There are many policies to choose from, but remember that in some cases you will need to choose a policy specifically designed to suit your type of visa.

OSHC can be arranged through your educational institution or purchased online through the website of an OSHC provider. Even if your education provider recommends a specific insurer, you are free to select the OSHC provider of your choice.

To apply for Medicare, you can complete a Medicare Enrolment Application form, which is available from the Department of Human Services website. However, if you’re visiting Australia from an RHCA country and wish to enrol in Medicare you’ll need to provide your passport and a valid visa, and possibly identification that shows you are enrolled in your country’s national health care scheme.

The following countries have RHCAs with Australia:

RHCA countries that don't require health insurance

Is there any reason to consider OVHC or OSHC if they aren’t mandatory for me?

Despite its many advantages, the Medicare system certainly does not provide comprehensive cover for medical costs. Medicare doesn’t cover:

  • Ambulance services
  • Full doctor’s fees for in-hospital medical services
  • Medication that isn’t subsidised under the PBS
  • Home nursing
  • Physio, optical, dental and chiro

Happily, these and many more medical services can be covered if you take out OVHC or OSHC.

Final suggestions

There are a few other factors you need to consider when choosing an OSHC or OVHC policy. One of those factors is the waiting periods that apply. Most insurers impose a 12-month waiting period on benefits for pre-existing conditions, while others will even exclude all pre-existing conditions from cover for the life of your policy.

Next, take a look at the fine print to check the list of exclusions. Work out exactly which services and costs are covered under a policy and which aren’t. If a service or treatment has restricted cover, how much of the procedure will you need to cover out of your own pocket? Taking out the highest level of hospital cover you can afford is a good idea, as this will provide extra peace of mind.

Finally, keep your policy paid and up to date so that your claims will always be processed, and notify your fund if your visa status changes at any time.

Full list of condition 8501 working visas

Visa SubclassSubclass Description
10Bridging Visa Class A
20Bridging Visa Class B
30Bridging Visa Class C
160Business Owner (Provisional)
161Senior Executive (Provisional)
162Investor (Provisional)
163State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner (Provisional)
164State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive (Provisional)
165State/Territory Sponsored Investor (Provisional)
402Occupational trainee
406Government Agreement
411Exchange
415Foreign Government Agency
416Special Program
417Working Holiday (Temporary)
418Educational
419Visiting Academic
420Entertainment
423Media and Film Staff
426Domestic Worker (Temporary) Diplomatic or Consular
427Domestic Worker (Temporary) Executive
428Religious Worker
456Business (Short stay)
457Business (Long stay)
457 IE FAOBusiness (Long stay) – Independent Executive – Further Application Onshore
459Sponsored Business Visitor (Short stay)
461New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary)
462Work and Holiday (Temporary)
470Professional Development
475Skilled – Regional Sponsored
476Skilled – Recognised Graduate
485Skilled – Graduate
487Skilled – Regional Sponsored
495Skilled – Independent Regional (Provisional)
496Skilled – Designated Area-sponsored (Provisional)
497Graduate – Skilled

On a bridging visa? Compare OVHC from Australian funds 

Picture: Shutterstock

Tim Falk

A freelance writer with a passion for the written word, Tim loves helping Australians find the right home loans and savings accounts. When he's not chained to a computer, Tim can usually be found exploring the great outdoors.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LindaApril 19, 2017

    I am going on a bridging visa whilst my application for aged parent contributory is being processed
    Do I need additional health cover to Medicare – if so what is available

    • Staff
      ZubairApril 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      finder.com.au is a comparison and information service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice or product recommendations.

      If you would like to speak with an adviser, please complete the contact form on our article about health insurance brokers. Once you have done so an adviser will contact you.

      All the best,
      Zubair

  2. Default Gravatar
    markApril 14, 2017

    I am trying to help my friend find appropriate insurance for her mother . She currently has a Bridging Visa .Bridging B ( Class WB),Bridging B ( subclass 020 ) . She is applying for Aged Parent (Residence ) ( class BP) , Aged Parent ( subclass 804 ) .For some reason her Immigration Agent has had her mother on a Student Insurance Coverage ( maybe this was or wasn’t appropriate ,,,who knows ? ) . What can you tell me . What can you sell me ? Regards Mark .

    • Staff
      ZubairApril 18, 2017Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your question.

      finder.com.au is a comparison and information service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice or product recommendations.

      if you would like to speak with an adviser, please complete the contact form on our article about health insurance brokers. Once you have done so an adviser will contact you.

      All the best,
      Zubair

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