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...

Firstly, let's help you get your head around Medicare eligibility.

When relocating to Australia, you firstly need to ask yourself - are you covered by Medicare, our public health insurance system? And the answer - well, it depends. Residents of some countries enjoy limited Medicare cover, but only for medically necessary care, 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 an eligible resident of a country that has a 'Reciprocal Health Care Agreement'. Currently, this includes New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Malta, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Slovenia. 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 cover 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?

Need a Visa Compliance Letter, pronto?

If you’re applying for an Australian visa, you may need to provide the Department of Home Affairs with a letter of visa compliance from your new health insurer to verify that you have met this requirement.

If you choose to join HIF online, a PDF of your Visa Compliance Letter will be emailed to you immediately upon confirming your online application for overseas visitors' health insurance.

Please note: Our Visitor Saver option for non-working visa holders is not a visa-compliant product and does not meet the requirements of the Department of Home Affairs visa conditions 8501. We cannot issue a letter of visa compliance for this product.

Want more info?

Visit the Overseas Visitors Health Cover category in our online knowledge base for more information on Medicare eligibility, visa compliance letters, and why purchasing Overseas Visitors Health Cover is a smart idea.