Will health insurance cover my parents coming from overseas?
If your parents are from another country and they come to visit you in Australia, they will need to have health insurance while they are here. They will not be eligible for Medicare in Australia, so it’s important that they have Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) in case they require medical or hospital treatment. The only exception is if they come from a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
What is Overseas Visitors Health Cover?
Overseas Visitors Health Cover is a type of health insurance that is specifically designed for overseas visitors to Australia. Most Australian funds offer a range of policies depending on whether you are travelling for business or for pleasure, and most will let you choose options ranging from inexpensive basic cover to more valuable comprehensive protection. Most OVHC policies will pay for:
- Hospital accommodation and theatre fees
- In-hospital doctor and specialist consultations
- In-hospital medical fees
- Intensive care fees
- Removal of adenoids, appendix and tonsils
- Emergency ambulance
- Day surgery
- Some ancillary services (usually for an additional fee)
- Services related to assisted reproduction (e.g. IVF)
- Treatment provided outside Australia
- Treatment arranged in advance of the visitor’s arrival
- Treatment for a pre-existing medical condition in the first 12 months of the policy
- Treatment covered by compensation or damages
- Elective cosmetic surgery
Are my parents eligible for Medicare in Australia?
The following countries have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia. If your parents live in one of the countries listed below, they will be eligible for certain benefits. If your parents’ country is not on this list then they do not get any Medicare benefits in Australia.
|Country||Entitlements||Period of cover|
|Republic of Ireland|
Even if your parents are from one of these countries, they may not be sufficiently protected by Medicare. For example, if they are visiting from Italy, Medicare will only cover them for six months and with certain benefits. You may still need an OVHC policy even if they are eligible for Medicare.
Which funds offer Overseas Visitors Health Cover?
The following table shows the kinds of Overseas Visitors Health Cover offered by some of Australia's health funds:
|Fund||What’s covered?||More info|
|Visitor Saver: covers the basics in a shared room in a public hospital. Services include:|
Visitor Value: covers you for a shared room in a private or public hospital, plus some out-of-hospital medical expenses such as x-rays and GP visits. Services include:
|Australian Unity offers three levels of cover: Basic, Mid and Top Overseas Visitors Cover. The benefits include:||More info|
|HCF Overseas Visitors Health Cover provides cover for various situations including:||More info|
|nib offers five levels of overseas visitors cover including: Budget, Value Plus, Basic, Mid and Top Visitor Cover. Benefits include:||More info|
|Fund||What’s covered?||More info|
|Allianz Assistance OVHC||Budget Visitors (Hospital Only) provides cover towards:|
Visitors Plus provides cover towards all the same in-hospital services plus:
|Bupa||Standard Visitors Cover provides:|
Guardian Plus Visitors Cover provides high cover for:
Extras Cover includes:
|hbf||Standard Overseas Visitors Cover includes:|
Comprehensive Overseas Visitors Cover includes:
|Medibank||Medibank’s Overseas Visitor Health Insurance includes:||More info|
Parent category visas
Your parents might be able to apply for a parent category visa to visit you in Australia. This could allow them to stay in the country for up to two years as a temporary resident or live here as a permanent resident.
To be eligible they must:
- Have a child who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen who has lived in Australia lawfully for at least two years prior
- Have a sponsor who meets the above criteria
- Meet the Balance of Family Test which requires that at least half of their children live permanently in Australia, or that more live in Australia than any other country
- Meet health and character requirements
There are different types of parent category visas:
- Parent Visa (subclass 103). If your parents are applying from outside Australia, they have a child who lives in Australia and they wish to become permanent Australian residents.
- Contributory Parent (Temporary) Visa (subclass 173). If they are applying from outside Australia, they have a child who lives in Australia, they wish to live in Australia for up to two years as temporary residents and they are prepared to pay higher application fees for faster visa processing.
- Contributory Parent Visa (subclass 143). If they are applying from either inside or outside Australia, they have a child who lives in Australia, they wish to become permanent Australian residents and they are prepared to pay higher application fees for faster visa processing.
- Aged Parent Visa (subclass 804). If they are applying from inside Australia, they have a child who lives in Australia, they wish to become permanent Australian residents and they meet the age requirements.
- Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Visa (subclass 884). If they are applying from inside Australia, they have a child who lives in Australia, they wish to live in Australia for up to two years as temporary residents, they meet the age requirements and they are prepared to pay higher application fees for faster visa processing.
- Contributory Aged Parent Visa (subclass 864). If they are applying from inside Australia, they have a child who lives in Australia, they wish to become permanent Australian residents, they meet the age requirements and they are prepared to pay higher application fees.