Understanding the Australian health system.

So you’re planning to head ‘down under’. Good for you! Whether you’re going on holiday, visiting relatives or even intending to work there for a while, we know you’ll have a great time. And hopefully, your stay will be accident and illness free too. But just in case the worst does happen, private health insurance is worth considering...

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Medicare eligibility explained.

When relocating to Australia, you firstly need to ask yourself - are you covered by Medicare, our public health system? And the answer - well, it depends. Residents of some countries enjoy limited Medicare cover, but only for emergency treatment, and only under certain conditions. If you aren’t covered though, you’ll have to pay for hospital or medical treatment, which can be pricey. For instance, an emergency appendix removal can cost as much as $30,000. Ouch! 

Overseas visitors who enter Australia on a temporary visa will not be eligible for Medicare benefits unless they’re a resident of a country that has a 'Reciprocal Health Care Agreement' with Australia. Currently, this includes New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium. If you’re visiting Australia from one of these countries, you’re generally covered for medically necessary treatment in a public hospital. You won’t be able to choose your own doctor though, and you also won’t be covered for:

  • Treatment in a private hospital, only public hospitals; or
  • Extras services like dental, optical, chiro or ambulance transport.

Even if you're covered by Medicare though, private health insurance still makes sense. Medicare is good, but it isn’t perfect. There are still waiting lists. And who wants to wait for a doctor when you could be enjoying Australia?

Why purchasing HIF Overseas Visitors Cover is a smart idea...

Overseas Visitors Cover (OVC) is private health insurance designed for international visitors and workers, including:

  • Visa 457 applicants (Temporary Business, Long Stay)
  • Visa 676 applicants (Tourist Visa)
  • Visa 410 applicants (Retirement Visa)
  • Short-term visitors
  • Temporary residents
  • Norfolk Island residents
  • and many more...

Need a Visa Compliance Letter, pronto?

If you’re applying for an Australian visa (for example, 457 temporary employment visa or a 676 tourist visa), you may need to provide the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) with a Visa Compliance Letter from your health insurer to verify that you have met this requirement. If you choose to join HIF online, your letter of visa compliance will be emailed to you instantly (PDF format) upon confirming your application.

Important: If you choose to purchase HIF Overseas Visitor Cover, you must nominate a start date (the date your policy will commence). To activate your membership, please note that we require a copy of the visa and passport details (confirming arrival dates) for everyone covered on the policy. The details must be provided to HIF within one month of your arrival, as per legislative requirement.

Do permanent migrants need to take out Overseas Visitors Cover?

For the first two years in Australia (while waiting for permanent residency to be granted), migrants are not entitled to Medicare benefits so purchasing OVC is recommended in the meantime. Once your residency or citizenship has been approved, you’ll then begin to receive Medicare benefits so you may then wish to change your Overseas Visitors Cover policy to a standard domestic policy instead. As well as giving you continued peace of mind that your health is protected, you’ll also limit potential tax implications and avoid public waiting lists.

What about overseas students?

If you’re planning to study down under and will be visiting Australia on a temporary student visa, you may be required (as a condition of your visa) to take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). For more information on OSHC, visit health.gov.au

NB: The requirements for Overseas Student Health Cover differs slightly for students from Belgium, Norway and Sweden.

Can I get cover for other services too, like dental, optical and physiotherapy?

Absolutely! Combining HIF Extras cover (also known as ‘ancillary’ or 'auxiliary') with one of our Visitors Cover options is the best way to ensure complete peace of mind for you and your family while you’re in Australia.

Extras insurance is used to cover services out of hospital that are generally not provided under Medicare, such as ambulance, chiropractic, complementary therapies, dental treatments, dietetics, glasses and contact lenses, healthy lifestyle services, occupational therapy, osteopathy, pharmaceuticals, psychological consultations, physiotherapy, podiatry visits and speech therapy. To find out more , visit our Extras Cover Options page.


Request a Callback

If you'd like to speak to one of our consultants in person about cover options, simply email sales@hif.com.au or phone us on 1300 13 40 60 and we'll be happy to assist. Alternatively, complete the quick form below and we'll call you at a time that suits. After all, what's important to you is important to us, and we want to ensure you're 100% happy with your decision.

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