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Health insurance for visitors

If you're visiting Australia on a 600 visa, overseas visitors health cover (OVHC) can pay for any unexpected medical bills. Compare OVHC policies below.

What you need to know

  • If you plan to holiday down under, you need cover for unexpected medical costs.
  • The best solve is a visitor OVHC policy, which can be had for a few bucks a day.
  • Even with travel insurance, OVHC is still a good idea, because they are specific to the Aussie health care system.
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Name Product Visa Compliant Hospital Cover Dental Pregnancy Cover GP Visits Medical Repatriation Price
HCF Short Stay Visitor Visa
From $55.50 per month
HCF Essentials Visitor Visa
From $126.50 per month
HCF Essentials Plus Visitor Visa
From $202.50 per month
Australian Unity Basic Overseas Visitors Cover
From $80.95 per month
More Info
Allianz Care Australia Budget Visitors Cover
From $148.7 per month
More Info
Australian Unity Mid Overseas Visitors Cover
From $126.5 per month
More Info
Allianz Care Australia Standard Visitors Cover
From 603.3 per month
More Info
Australian Unity Top Overseas Visitors Cover
From $197.80 per month
More Info

Do visitors need health insurance?

Unlike some other Australian visas, it's not a requirement for tourists to get health insurance for the 600 visa. However, just because it’s not mandatory, doesn’t mean you don’t need cover. The Department of Immigration strongly recommends private health insurance for anyone coming to Australia on a 600 visa. This is for two very important reasons:

  • Without it you'll need to pay for all your own medical costs in Australia, whether it’s a dental check up or a trip to the hospital emergency room after a serious accident.
  • Injury and sickness is unpredictable, particularly while travelling, so getting health insurance for tourists is an important part of the pre-flight checklist for experienced travellers.

What do I get with OVHC?

Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) is a type of health insurance designed specifically for visitors to Australia. It can cover you for:

Hospital treatment, accommodation and theatre fees
Doctor, surgeon and specialist fees
Emergency ambulance transportation fees
Private contract
Prescriptions and General Practitioner (GP) consultations

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Medicare is Australia’s public healthcare system, and generally it only covers Australian citizens and permanent residents. Most visitors to Australia aren’t eligible, unless there is an Reciprocal Health Care Agreement in place. This means that if you are visiting Australia from any of the following countries, you may be partially covered by Medicare. Australia has an RHCA with the following countries:

  • The United Kingdom
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • The Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • Sweden
  • Slovenia
  • Norway
  • Finland

OVHC waiting periods

While domestic health insurance policies have waiting periods before you can claim, they don't make sense for visitor, as you'll need coverage from the first day you arrive. As such, most visitor OVHC policies have zero waiting periods. That doesn't include pre-existing conditions though, which are never covered.

Just a quick note here - some of the student and working OVHC policies do have waiting period, especially for the more complex cover types. So if you were to somehow change from a visitor to a working visa (I don't know if that happens, I'm not an immigration lawyer) then you may have some waiting periods on your new policy.

FAQs about health insurance for visitors

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Editor, Insurance & Innovations

Gary Ross Hunter was an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 2 General Advice General Insurance certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146). See full bio

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Gary Ross has written 730 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Health, home, life, car, pet and travel insurance
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