Man hiking along the Australian coastline

Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC)

Want to work or study in Australia? Learn how health insurance and visa conditions work. Compare visitors cover from leading funds.

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 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.

What sort of visitors health insurance do you want to compare?

Details Features
Budget Workers Cover
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)
Enquire Now More info
Value Plus Visitor Cover
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
Enquire Now More info
Budget Visitor Cover
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
Enquire Now More info
Details Features
Mid Workers Cover
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)
Enquire Now More info
Basic Visitor Cover
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
Enquire Now More info
Details Features
Workers Cover Plus
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)
Enquire Now More info
Overseas Visitors Health Cover
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
Enquire Now More info
Top Visitor Cover
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
Enquire Now More info
Mid Visitor Cover
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
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 reflect the April 1 premium rise and are accurate for September 2017 but are subject to change in the future.

What is visa condition 8501?

Condition 8501 requires applicants for certain visas to take out adequate private health insurance. Overseas visitors (with some exceptions) cannot access the public system called Medicare, so private health insurance 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 a policy must cover in order to be considered adequate health insurance. Most overseas health insurance offered by Australian funds' are tailored to meet these requirements, but you should still check that your policy has the following features so that it's compliant.

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 a different form of visitor health insurance called Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC).

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 health insurance for:

  • 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)

Which health funds offer visitors health cover in Australia?

Health fundHospital cover for overseas visitors Extras cover available or included?
HIF health insurance
  • Comprehensive Working Visa
  • Intermediate Working Visa
  • Essentials Working Visa
  • Basic Working Visa
  • Premium Options
  • Super Options
  • Special Options
  • Saver Options
Australian Unity
  • Workers Cover Plus
  • Mid Workers Cover
  • Budget Workers Cover
  • Comprehensive Extras
  • Basic Extras
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 overseas visitors Extras cover available or included?
Allianz Global Assistance
  • Visitors Plus
  • Budget Visitors
  • Included in Visitors Plus
  • Not included in Budget Visitors
Australian Unity
  • Workers Cover Plus
  • Mid Workers Cover
  • Budget Workers Cover
  • Comprehensive Extras
  • Basic Extras
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

Compare your visitors health insurance options and speak to an adviser

Tips for comparing Australian 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 OVHC. 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 questions about Australia, health insurance and visas

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.
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.
No, hospital cover is the only type of health insurance that is 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 hospital cover.
Besides those from certain RHCA countries, visitors to Australia cannot get subsidies on medications under the PBS. If you require cover for medications most policies will pay benefits for drugs listed on the PBS.
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.
Most policies will include cover for emergency ambulance transportation, but check with your fund to be sure.
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. Notify your health fund immediately so that you can be transferred to an appropriate form of cover.

Compare your visitors health insurance options and speak to an adviser

Latest headlines

Pictures: Shutterstock

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Compare health insurance on finder.com.au

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, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MandeepJuly 15, 2017

    I want to know which insurance company covers aged parent visa subclass 804 thanks

    • Staff
      DanielleJuly 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Mandeep,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page for options that may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Get Quote” or “Enquire Now” button.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  2. Default Gravatar
    hosseinApril 11, 2017

    hi what is the best choose for us for insurance my subcl
    ass visa 188 we need basic cover

    • Staff
      ZubairApril 12, 2017Staff

      Hi Hossein,

      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.

      The table on the top of this page lists the name of insurers who offer cover for working visa health cover. If you would like to compare your options with help from an adviser you can do so by clicking green ‘Enquire now’ button and completing the contact form. Once you have done so, an adviser will be in touch to help you.

      All the best,
      Zubair

  3. Default Gravatar
    RobApril 10, 2017

    Looking for health insurance retirement visa subclass 410
    Female 85 years old, currently with Bupa.

    Thanks
    Rob

    • Staff
      ZubairApril 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Rob,

      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.

      However, Bupa does provide cover for 410 visas. You will need to contact Bupa directly for further information.

      All the best,
      Zubair

Ask a question
feedback