If you are visiting Australia and hold a temporary visa you should consider taking out Overseas Visitors Health Cover. If you need to visit a doctor or stay in hospital while you are here you could find yourself responsible for the full cost of treatment, which can be very expensive.

Benefits, membership costs and eligibility can vary greatly between funds and insurance policies. When considering any health insurance take care to ensure the cover you select is suitable for your needs.

  • Make sure that you are aware of the waiting periods of the policy you purchase. Most insurers will impose a 12 month waiting period for cover on pre-existing conditions, and some will not cover them at all.
  • Check the restrictions and exclusions of the policy. Not everything will be covered in full and some items may not be covered at all. Remember that hospital costs for overseas visitors, even in a public hospital, are generally higher than AUD$1,000 per day.
  • Consider taking out the highest level of hospital cover you can afford. You can choose to pay a higher excess if you do require treatment rather than having a restriction to save money on premiums.
  • Check how much your policy will cover for pharmacy expenses as most policies only have limited cover and will not adequately cover high-cost drugs such as those used as chemotherapy drugs in cancer treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • If your visa status or Medicare eligibility changes inform your fund as soon as possible. Check with them that your policy is still suitable, as you may be able to swap to a residents’ policy.
  • Keep your policy paid and up to date. If your policy falls behind in payments, your fund may refuse claims or cancel your membership.
  • If you’re anticipating treatment, contact your fund and find out whether you will be covered and how much you will need to pay yourself. If you need treatment which isn’t covered by your insurer, ask the service provider to find out how much you will need to pay o yourself. If possible, ask for a written quote.

Which Health Funds provide cover for overseas visitors?

A number of health insurers provide health cover options to overseas visitors and student while they are in Australia. Visit the links below to find out more detail about getting health cover that’s right for you.

Additionally, you can visit the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman’s PrivateHealth.gov.au website for more detailed information about health insurance eligibility for overseas visitors and overseas students to Australia.