Commonly asked questions about
Overseas Visitors Cover.

Confused about private health insurance within Australia? Don’t be.

We know first-hand just how confusing arranging health cover in another country can be. But that’s why we’re here – to make everything as simple (and affordable) as possible. So, if you can’t find the answer to your question on our website or in our overseas visitors cover brochure or product disclosure statement, don’t fret. Here’s some handy 'commonly asked questions' to help you out...

FAQ 1 to 12 of 12


If I join HIF, how quickly will I receive my visa compliance letter?

Instantly! Whether you join online or over the phone, your letter of visa compliance will be emailed to you automatically as soon as your application is submitted.

The letter will be sent to you in PDF format, meaning you can forward it straight on to your immigration liaison.

If you have registered a Hotmail email address on your application form, please ensure you check your junk mail folder as our letters sometimes get filtered by Hotmail.

If I've already received a visa compliance letter from another fund, can I still switch to HIF?

Yes, absolutely you can. Your health insurance cover is completely portable and HIF will even recognise your full length of membership with your previous fund, which means you don’t have to re-serve waiting periods you’ve already served with another health insurance provider.

If my visa is not approved, can I get a refund?

Yes, you are entitled to a refund, although a $50 admin fee will be charged. Please note that refunds will only be issued to the original applicant's credit card or PayPal account.

We have joined HIF on a family health cover policy. How long can our child(ren) stay on our policy?

Providing your child or children are dependent and living with you, they can be included on your policy until they turn 21. If they are studying in an approved Australian education institution, they can remain on your policy until they are 25 years of age.

What are waiting periods?

A waiting period is the standard period of time that must be served as an HIF member before you’re eligible to claim a benefit.

Visit our Waiting Periods for Overseas Visitors page for more information and a full breakdown.

What happens if I cancel my health cover before my visa runs out?

We may be obliged to notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) if your policy is cancelled.

What happens to my visa if I don’t take out Hospital Cover?

If you don’t take out Hospital cover and it is a requirement of your visa, your visa will be refused and you won’t be able to come to Australia.

Applying for a working visa? (e.g. 457 or 485) View our range of working visa health cover options.

What happens when I get permanent residency?

When you get permanent residency, you will receive a Medicare Eligibility letter. The letter will give you one year to purchase domestic private health insurance cover before you are charged Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC).

When you become eligible for Medicare, you are also entitled to the Federal Government Rebate

What if I'm from a ‘reciprocal country’?

If you are from a country that has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, you are entitled to receive emergency treatment in a public hospital anywhere in Australia. The key word here is ‘emergency’.

Reciprocal health care agreements aren’t designed to replace private travel and health insurance. If you rely on a reciprocal agreement, you may have to wait a while before you’re treated, even for emergency treatment.

Taking out private health insurance means you won’t have to go on a public waiting list. What’s more, you’ll be able to choose your own doctor and hospital.

The countries with reciprocal health care agreements are: New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. However, please note that students from Norway, Finland, Malta and the Republic of Ireland aren’t covered by agreements with those countries.

What is ‘out-patient medical’?

‘Out-patient medical’ refers to any treatment you receive in a doctor’s rooms or a hospital emergency/casualty department. For example, a visit to your general practitioner (GP), doctor or specialist, or services such as x-rays or blood tests.

What is Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS)?

The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is a Federal Government initiative designed to encourage individuals to take out private Hospital cover and use private hospitals, thereby reducing demand on the public system. Visit our Make a Tax Saving page for full details.

What is the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC)?

The federal Government introduced the Lifetime Health Cover loading to encourage permanent residents of Australia to take out private Hospital cover at a younger age. Basically, it recognises the length of time you’ve had private health insurance and rewards that loyalty by offering lower premiums – so the earlier you take out health cover, the cheaper your premiums.  

How is the LHC loading applied? For every year over the age of 30 that you don’t have private Hospital cover, a 2% loading is applied to the cost of your insurance (increasing each year until it reaches 70%).  

For example, a single 37 year old would pay 14% LHC loading – so it really pays to take out private Hospital cover sooner rather than later. For couples and families, however, the loading is initially calculated based on your respective dates of birth and then halved. For example, a couple aged 33 and 36 would generate a combined loading of 18% initially (6% + 12%), so the final loading that is applied to their joint policy is 9%.  

If you find that you will incur a loading, you will be required to pay this on top of the base premium that you’re initially quoted for your Hospital cover. If you decide to join HIF, your loading will automatically be applied to the quoted amount once you provide your date of birth. 

Visit our Lifetime Health Cover page to find out more.