Expat Health Insurance

Australian expat health insurance is a specialist type of cover that can protect your health and finances while you're working abroad.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

If your working life takes you away from Australia's shores, expat health insurance is designed specifically for you. It can cover you for everything from hospital accommodation and treatment fees to medical repatriation to Australia.

What is Australian expat health insurance?

While the standard of healthcare in Australia is quite high, the medical care and treatment on offer internationally can vary greatly from one country to the next.

Australian expat health insurance is a type of health service that allows you and your family to access a high level of medical care wherever you are in the world. It can cover you for:

Hospital cover

Hospital expenses

Health insurance policies for Australians living overseas can cover hospital expenses you may encounter whilst living overseas. This can include treatment for accidents, illnesses such as cancer and in some cases elective surgery.

Optical extras cover

Ancillary services

Like Australia, many countries will charge you for out of hospital services like dental, physio and optical. Some expat health insurance policies can cover you for this type of care.


Medical repatriation

In some cases, urgent or complex treatment requires you to return to Australia. Some policies can cover you for emergency evacuation costs.

What does health insurance for expats cover?

Although the benefits offered by expat health insurance differ from one policy to the next, comprehensive expat health insurance will usually cover the following medical services.

  • Hospital accommodation
  • Surgical and theatre fees
  • In-hospital medicines
  • Nursing care
  • Day surgery
  • Specialists’ fees
  • Pathology, x-rays, diagnostic tests
  • Prosthetic implants and appliances
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Ambulance transportation and treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • 24/7 emergency medical advice and assistance
  • Medical repatriation to Australia
  • Physio, chiro, osteo, speech therapy, dietitian, natural therapies

Who offers health insurance for Australian's living overseas?

There are two ways that you can access health insurance for expatriates.

  1. Through your employer, if they offer cover for workers overseas.
  2. By taking out an international health insurance policy yourself directly from an insurer.

Major global insurers such as Bupa and Allianz both offer international health insurance solutions for individuals and their families, as well as policies designed for businesses to offer to their employees.

What is the difference between health and travel insurance?

There are a couple of key differences between health and travel insurance that will help you decide which one you need.

  • Health insurance for expats. This is designed for Australians who will be spending an extended period of time abroad. With this in mind, expat health insurance includes cover for day-to-day medical expenses like visits to the doctor, x-rays and pathology, as well as maternity care and dental treatment. Policies also include cover for emergency medical expenses and repatriation to Australia.
  • Travel insurance. This type of insurance is more suited to cover the needs of Australians taking shorter trips overseas. It typically does not include any cover for everyday healthcare expenses and services such as maternity care. Instead, the medical cover provided by travel insurance is designed to provide protection if you suffer an unexpected medical emergency while overseas. Travel insurance also provides cover for a range of other travel-related risks, including lost luggage, travel delays and cancellation fees.

Do I need a policy if I am covered by the RHCA?

Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) in place with the governments of 11 countries around the world.
RHCA countries that don't require health insurance
The RHCA allows you to access subsidised healthcare under the public health system in place at that destination; in other words, you’ll be covered by that country’s version of Medicare. Although the medical cover available under an RHCA is beneficial, it has its limits so you still may want to consider health insurance.

  • It often doesn't provide cover for a wide range of medical expenses, including ambulance services, dental treatment, elective treatments and treatment in private hospitals.
  • It often doesn't cover the cost of medical repatriation to Australia.

FAQs about Australian expat health insurance

More guides on Finder

Save on your health insurance

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    natalieAugust 15, 2019

    My 24-year-old son is going to study in Amsterdam for 12 to 16 months. Could I get a quote?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 16, 2019Staff

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Since your son will be travelling to the country where Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) in place, your son then has access to the subsidised healthcare under the public health system in the said country. He will be covered by the Netherlands’ version of Medicare.

      If you still consider getting health insurance for your son, this page has list of insurer you may apply for. Please visit their official page to get quotes.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


Go to site