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Overseas visitors health cover is health insurance designed for people visiting Australia. It's mandatory for many visa applications including the 482,457, and 485. It offers benefits for doctor's visits, prescriptions, emergency ambulance rides and hospital treatments. Below, you can find options that meet visa condition 8501.
OVHC can cover you for five different types of services depending on what level of cover you choose:
Even the most basic policy will cover your hospital bills to some extent. The other services like doctor’s visits and physical therapy are useful but optional, so they are usually reserved for higher levels of cover.
Here are the different levels of cover that are usually available:
Extras is a type of insurance to cover a range of out-of-hospital treatments including:
Extras policies themselves are different products to OVHC policies, although some OVHC policies include some of the same types of cover you can find in an extras policy. If you want to be covered for any of the above treatments, you have one of two options:
Yes. Some OVHC policies provide cover for dental treatment including general dental services like cleanings and simple fillings, as well as major dental work like root canals, crowns and bridges.
Not all insurers offer it, but the ones that do usually include it in their top-level policies only. You can also get dental cover by purchasing a standalone “extras” policy on top of your OVHC.
If you plan on working in Australia, your visa application will require OVHC Others won't be required to have it, but it could still be worth it.
Here is how it can help you:
Most OVHC policies will cover pregnancy, but at a reduced rate compared to other covered treatments. That’s because not everyone needs pregnancy-related services and it’s generally not considered an unexpected medical need.
Insurers who cover pregnancy at a reduced rate (typically in a basic policy) will pay your hospital accommodation fees in a public hospital, but the rest will be up to you, including doctors fees, delivery fees, blood tests, ultrasounds and anesthesia.
However, some insurers do offer higher levels of private pregnancy cover that also include your choice of an obstetrician. These insurers will offer full cover for pregnancy within their mid or top-level policies.
For private pregnancy, you will have a waiting period of 12-months before you can use it. That means you will have to buy your policy well before you get pregnant.
If you are switching visas, there are situations where you’ll want to reconsider your health insurance options.
If you are switching from one visa that requires health cover to another one that also does, then your best bet is to just carry on with the OVHC cover that you already have. One example would be if you are on a temporary graduate visa (485) and are switching over to a temporary skill shortage visa (482).
If you are switching from a visa that requires health cover to one that doesn’t, then you are not required to keep your OVHC. However, you should strongly consider keeping it so that you’re not unprotected. An example of this would be if you are switching from a temporary skill shortage visa (482) over to a working holiday visa (417). If your situation is the reverse of this, you’ll need to take out OVHC before you can get your new visa.
If you are switching from a visa that requires OVHC to a visa that includes Medicare cover like a permanent resident visa (PR), you can keep your OVHC as long as you want but you should strongly consider switching to a domestic health insurance policy for the following reasons:
The Budget Workers Cover from Health.com.au currently offers the cheapest policy in the market starting from $65 per month. It only covers your in-hospital visits and doesn’t include visits to the GP or specialists, dental work (even if it is in-hospital) or natural therapies. This is common for most budget policies.
Even a basic policy will be enough to cover your visa requirements.
The good news is, once you buy your health cover - it’s active straight away. However, some treatments have a waiting period.
Waiting periods are the amount of time you have to wait before you can get health insurance benefits. The times can vary based on the treatment, for example, 12 months for pregnancy or 2 months for dental.
The only way you can typically get out of your OVHC waiting periods is if you already served them with another insurer and you’re switching to a similar policy with a new insurer. If you are taking out OVHC for the first time, you’ll have to put in the wait.
If your visa requires you to have health insurance and the other members of your family are coming over on the same visa as you, everyone will be required to have OVHC. Most insurers offer singles, couples and family policies so that you can all be covered under the same policy.
There are a couple of situations where your family members may not be required to have OVHC:
You know that visa requirement we’ve been talking about? That’s requirement 8501, and it means your visa won’t be approved without health cover in place.
To meet condition 8501, your insurance must:
Most OVHC policies are designed to meet these requirements, but it never hurts to double check with your insurer, employer and/or immigration agent to make sure.
Here is a list of common Australian workers visas and whether or not they require you to have private health insurance.
|Visa Number||Visa Name||Description||Health care requirement?|
|405||Investor Retirement||For self-funded retirees without any dependants.||yes|
|408||Temporary Activity||For workers on temporary assignments like entertainers, athletes and researchers||yes|
|417||Working Holiday||For young people who want to work while travelling Australia||no|
|400||Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist)||For workers who do highly specialised, short-term work like managers, professionals and tradespeople||no|
(replaced by the 482 in March 2018)
|Temporary Work (Skilled)||Allowed skilled workers to live and work for up to four years||yes|
|482||Temporary Skill Shortage||For skilled workers to live and work for up to four years in order to fill labour shortages in Australia||yes|
|485||Temporary graduate||Allows international students who have recently graduated from an Australian uni to live, work and study in Australia||yes|
|489||Skilled Regional (Provisional)||For overseas skilled workers to live and work in regional Australian locations for up to four years.||yes|
|BVA||Bridging visa||For people who are switching to a new visa and waiting for the application to process. Also for people making arrangements to leave Australia.||Only if the visa you are applying for requires it|
Select your visa type to instantly compare and apply for a relevant policy.
Take a close look at the eligibility requirements when applying for a visa, or contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to find out if condition 8501 applies to you
There are some conditions and treatments that OVHC won’t cover at all regardless of the insurer or policy level. Here are a few of the most common:
The exact list of excluded services varies between insurers, so take a closer look at the policy document before choosing a policy.
|Health fund||Hospital cover for overseas visitors||Extras cover available or included?||More info|
|Health fund||Hospital cover for overseas visitors||Extras cover available or included?||More info|
|Allianz Global Assistance||More info|
|Australian Unity||More info|
|Frank Health Insurance||More info|
If you’re from one of 11 specific countries in the list below, you’re eligible for Medicare and won’t be required to have OVHC (although we still recommend it). That’s because your country and Australia have an agreement called a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA).
Here are the countries that have an RHCA with Australia:
Even with Medicare cover, it’s still a good idea to get Overseas Visitor Health Cover because it covers you for the following (whereas Medicare won’t):
In addition to that, if you make more than $90,000 per year and you don’t have private health insurance, you will be required to pay a tax called the Medicare Levy Surcharge.
Most students are also required to have private health cover as a condition of their visas, so you can think of Overseas Student Health Cover as the student version of Overseas Visitors Health Cover.
In fact, the requirement is exactly the same: the health cover needs to meet condition 8501. So many OSHC policies and OVHC policies are the same product, just marketed differently.
For more information on how OSHC works and how to choose a policy, check out our comprehensive OSHC guide.
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