Man working in Australia with overseas visitors health cover

Overseas Visitors Health Cover

Need cover to meet your Australian working visa requirements? Compare visitors health insurance

If you are planning to travel to Australia for work, or are an overseas student who has recently graduated, you may have to take out an Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) policy, which is mandatory for visas that have to comply with condition 8501.

As overseas visitors are typically unable to enrol in the Australian public health system, taking out private health insurance ensures that you are covered for medical care that would otherwise result in you paying significant out-of-pocket expenses.

Compare OVHC offered by participating Australian health funds

All listed policies are compliant with Australian working visa requirements

Condition 8501 applies to most working visas including the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485).

Details Features
Comprehensive Working Visa
Comprehensive Working Visa
  • Level of cover: High
  • $218.60 per month (for singles)
  • $8,000 repatriation benefit
  • Private room in a private hospital
  • Access Gap Cover to minimise extra costs
  • $500 excess option available
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Workers Cover Plus
Workers Cover Plus
  • Level of cover: High
  • $184.55 per month (for singles)
  • $20,000 repatriation benefit
  • Private room (where available) in a private hospital
  • 150% back on doctor and specialist fees
  • $500 benefit for pharmacy prescriptions
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Overseas Visitors Health Cover
Overseas Visitors Health Cover
  • Level of cover: High
  • Enquire now for pricing
  • Repatriation benefit unavailable
  • Private room in an HCF affiliated private hospital
  • Cover for operating theatre and intensive care fees
  • Cover for emergency ambulance transport
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Top Visitor Cover
Top Visitor Cover
  • Level of cover: High
  • $312.00 per month (for singles)
  • Repatriation benefit
  • Accomodation in a private hospital
  • Includes cover for dental, optical, physio and GP visits
  • $2,000 benefit for pharmacy prescriptions
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Mid Visitor Cover
Mid Visitor Cover
  • Level of cover: High
  • $260.00 per month (for singles)
  • Repatriation benefit
  • Accomodation in a private hospital
  • Cover for out of hospital doctors visits
  • Cover for out of hospital physiotherapy
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Intermediate Working Visa
Intermediate Working Visa
  • Level of cover: Medium
  • $105.10 per month (for singles)
  • $6,000 repatriation benefit
  • Shared room in a private hospital
  • $500 annual benefit for outpatient treatment
  • Cover for X-rays and pathology
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Mid Workers Cover
Mid Workers Cover
  • Level of cover: Medium
  • $120.85 per month (for singles)
  • $20,000 repatriation benefit
  • Shared room in a private hospital
  • 100% back on doctor and specialist fees
  • $300 benefit for pharmacy prescriptions
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Basic Visitor Cover
Basic Visitor Cover
  • Level of cover: Medium
  • $134.33 per month (for singles)
  • Repatriation benefit
  • Accomodation in a private hospital
  • Cover for out of hospital doctors visits
  • $500 benefit for pharmacy prescriptions
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Value Plus Visitor Cover
Value Plus Visitor Cover
  • Level of cover: Medium
  • $97.50 per month (for singles)
  • Repatriation benefit
  • Accomodation in an nib affiliated private hospital
  • Cover for out of hospital doctors visits
  • $500 benefit for pharmacy prescriptions
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Essentials Working Visa
Essentials Working Visa
  • Level of cover: Low
  • $92.10 per month (for singles)
  • $4,000 repatriation benefit
  • Shared room in a public hospital
  • Cover for theatre fees (in a public hospital)
  • Cover for maternity services (in a public hospital)
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Basic Working Visa
Basic Working Visa
  • Level of cover: Low
  • $69.00 per month (for singles)
  • $4,000 repatriation benefit
  • Shared room in a public hospital
  • Covers vital treatments in a public hospital
  • Currently the most affordable OVHC available
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Budget Workers Cover
Budget Workers Cover
  • Level of cover: Low
  • $84.85 per month (for singles)
  • $20,000 repatriation benefit
  • Shared room in a public hospital
  • 100% back on doctor and specialist fees
  • Cover for emergency ambulance transport
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Budget Visitor Cover
Budget Visitor Cover
  • Level of cover: Low
  • $74.54 per month (for singles)
  • Repatriation benefit
  • Accomodation in a private hospital
  • Cover for operating theatre and ward fees
  • Cover for emergency ambulance transport
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What is visa condition 8501?

Condition 8501 requires applicants for certain visas to take out adequate private health insurance in the form of an OVHC policy. Overseas visitors (with some exceptions) cannot access the public health system called Medicare, so OVHC ensures that they can get the treatment they need for illness or injury without having to pay costly medical bills themselves.

It is also important to be aware of what an OVHC policy must cover in order to be considered adequate health insurance. Most visitors health insurance offered by Australian providers are tailored to meet these requirements, but you should still check that your policy has the following features.

Adequate health insurance criteria

Which visas are affected by condition 8501?

Here are some commonly applied for Australian visas that have to comply with condition 8501. Always be sure to check your visa requirements or contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to find out if condition 8501 applies to you.

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
  • Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)
  • Majority of other temporary working visa subclasses
  • All student visas (except for Norwegian, Belgian and some Swedish students)

If you are coming to Australia for the purposes of study then you will need to take out Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC) instead of OVHC.

Can non-working and tourist visa holders get cover?

Overseas visitors to Australia who are not on specific working or skilled visas are still able to purchase a policy, and many health funds will offer non-working visa OVHC. If you are applying for any of the visas listed below you should consider taking out some form of OVHC policy for the duration of your stay.

  • eVisitor (subclass 651)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
  • Visitor (subclass 600)
  • Student Guardian visa (subclass 580)
  • Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)
  • New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (temporary) visa (subclass 461)
  • Special Category visa (subclass 444) for New Zealand citizens
  • Bridging visas (subclass 010, 020, 030, 040, 041, 051)

finder.com.au's best* OVHC policies from participating funds

Health fundHospital cover for 457 visa holders Extras cover available or included? 
HIF health insurance
  • Comprehensive Working Visa 
  • Intermediate Working Visa
  • Essentials Working Visa
  • Premium Options
  • Super Options
  • Special Options
  • Saver Options
Australian Unity
  • Budget Workers Cover
  • Workers Cover Plus
  • No extras policies available
HCF health insurance
  • Overseas Visitors Health Cover
  • Ultimate Extras
  • Lifestyle Plus Extras
  • Active Lifestyle Extras
  • Lifestyle Essentials
  • Basic Extras
nib health insurance 
  • Top Visitor Cover
  • Mid Visitor Cover
  • Basic Visitor Cover
  • Value Plus Visitor Cover
  • Budget Visitor Cover
  • Included in Top Visitor Cover
  • Included in Mid Visitor Cover
  • Included in Basic Visitor Cover
  • Included in Value Plus Visitor Cover
  • Not included in Budget Visitor Cover
Health fundHospital cover for 457 visa holders Extras cover available or included?
Allianz Global Assistance
  • Visitors Plus
  • Budget Visitors
  • Included in Visitors Plus
  • Not included in Budget Visitors
Australian Unity
  • Budget Workers Cover
  • Workers Cover Plus
  • No extras policies available
Bupa
  • Platinum Visitors Cover
  • Essential Plus Visitors Cover
  • Gold Visitors Cover
  • Essential Visitors Cover
  • Included in Platinum Visitors Cover
  • Included in Essential Plus Visitors Cover
Frank Health Insurance
  • Frank Minimum Working Visa
  • No extras policies available
hbf
  • Working Visa Hospital and Medical Cover
  • Working Visa Hospital Cover
  • Included in Working Visa Hospital & Medical Cover
  • Not included in Working Visa Hospital Cover
HCF
  • Overseas Visitors Health Cover
  • Ultimate Extras
  • Lifestyle Plus Extras
  • Active Lifestyle Extras
  • Lifestyle Essentials
  • Basic Extras
hif
  • Comprehensive Working Visa 
  • Intermediate Working Visa
  • Essentials Working Visa
  • Premium Options
  • Super Options
  • Special Options
  • Saver Options
nib
  • Top Visitor Cover
  • Mid Visitor Cover
  • Basic Visitor Cover
  • Value Plus Visitor Cover
  • Budget Visitor Cover
  • Included in Top Visitor Cover
  • Included in Mid Visitor Cover 
  • Included in Basic Visitor Cover
  • Included in Value Plus Visitor Cover
  • Not included in Budget Visitor Cover

Receive a quote for visitors health insurance from an adviser

Tips for comparing and choosing visitors health insurance

  • Know the waiting periods. Check the fine print of your policy to find out how long you will have to wait before you can claim a benefit. For example, pre-existing conditions will either attract a waiting period of 12 months or not be covered at all.
  • Check restrictions and exclusions. Certain services may only be partially covered by your fund, while others may not be covered at all. For example, cosmetic procedures or medical care received outside Australia will be excluded from cover.
  • Consider a higher level of cover. Purchasing the highest level of hospital cover that fits within your budget is recommended. In order to keep your premiums down you could opt to pay an excess or co-payment if these features are available.
  • Check the pharmacy benefits. Most overseas visitor health cover policies only offer limited cover for pharmaceuticals. They will typically not provide adequate cover for the cost of expensive drugs such as those used in chemotherapy.
  • Inform your fund of any changes. Visa status changed? Be sure to notify your health fund immediately of any changes to your circumstances so that you always have the right type of health cover in place.
  • Stay up to date with payments. Make sure that you continue paying your premiums, or contact your fund immediately if you think you will not be able to pay. If you are late with payments your fund could refuse claims or cancel your policy.
  • Contact your fund if you need treatment. Always contact your health fund before undergoing treatment to find out if you will be covered. If no cover is offered ask the medical service provider to provide a quote of how much the service will cost.

Medicare and Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Although most overseas visitors are ineligible for membership to the Australian public health system called Medicare, there is one exception to this rule. If you come from a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia then you will be able to access a measure of subsidised medical treatments. The current RHCA nations are:
RHCA countries that don't require health insurance

  • Visa condition 8501 and students. If you are from an RHCA nation and you are applying for a student visa or a visa affected by condition 8501 you may be able to apply for an exemption. If you are applying from outside Australia you will need to take out an interim policy until you arrive and can enrol in Medicare.
  • RHCA benefits vs visitors health insurance. Be aware that the amount of subsidised care you receive from the RHCA is very limited, and any treatment you require beyond vital services will still leave you with out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, whether it is mandatory or not, it is strongly advised that you at least consider taking out visitors health insurance.

Common visitors health insurance questions answered

What is the difference between an inpatient and an outpatient?

An inpatient is someone who is formally admitted to hospital by order of a doctor while an outpatient is someone who is being treated at hospital but has not been admitted. For example, you are an outpatient if you are getting X-rays or simply being kept under general observation.

What is the difference between hospital cover and extras cover?

Hospital cover is a policy that insures you for inpatient treatments which require admittance to hospital. Extras cover insures you for treatments administered outside of hospital, such as dentistry and physiotherapy.

Does extras cover satisfy visa conditions requiring health insurance?

No, all OVHC policies which are compliant with visa condition 8501 are hospital cover. While many health funds offer extras cover for overseas visitors, these policies must be taken out in conjunction with OVHC.

Can I access the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)?

Besides those from certain RHCA countries, visitors to Australia cannot get subsidies on medications under the PBS. If you require cover for medications most OVHC policies will pay benefits for drugs listed on the PBS.

What does a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement mean for me?

If you are visiting from a country that Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with you can receive some subsidised health services for essential medical treatment for the duration of your stay.

Does visitors health insurance cover the cost of emergency ambulance transport?

Many OVHC policies will include cover for emergency ambulance transportation, but check with your insurer to be sure.

What happens if I become a permanent resident or citizen of Australia?

In this event you will become eligible for full access to the Australian public health system and can switch from visitors health insurance to a domestic policy if you wish. You should notify your health insurer immediately so that you can be transferred to an appropriate form of cover.
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