Overseas Visitor Cover

Overseas Visitors Cover pays several benefits towards hospital and medical care for foreign nationals whilst in Australia. While it’s always a smart choice to maintain health insurance while travelling or working abroad, it may be mandatory for those applying for permanent residency or any other visa.

Overseas Visitors Cover policies generally fall into three categories; Basic, Mid and Top. The classifications are based on the services that are shown as covered, excluded or restricted on standard information statements.

Service

Basic

Mid

Top

Waiting Period

Private Hospital 2 Months (unless pre-existing)
Public Hospital 2 Months (unless pre-existing)
Accident Cover No Waits
Cardiac 2 Months (unless pre-existing)
Joint Replacement 2 Months (unless pre-existing)
Pregnancy/Obstetrics 12 Months
Assisted Reproductive/IVF  
In Hospital Rehab 2 Months
In Hospital Psychiatric 2 Months
Dialysis 2 Months (unless pre-existing)
Bone Marrow and Organ Transplants  
Cosmetic Surgery  
Ambulance Coverage 2 Months

Note: Individual policies may vary from this general guide.

Cover Type

Accommodation Type

Choice of Doctor

Choice of Hospital

No Cover Public patient, public hospital No No
Restricted Cover Private patient, public hospital Yes No
Full Cover Private patient, private hospital Yes Yes

What are the different Medicare cards and entitlements?
Medicare Card Medicare Status Eligible for Rebate? Liable for LHC? Liable for MLS? Eligible for CHIP?
medicare card type

 

Full Benefits

 

 

 

 

medicare card type

 

Interim Benefits

 

 

 

 

medicare card type

 

Reciprocal Health Care Agreement

 

 

 

 

medicare card type

 

No Benefits

 

 

 

 

References Explained
CHIP – Compliant Health Insurance product for Australian PHI. MLS – Medicare Levee Surcharge LHC – Lifetime Health Cover Loading

Full Benefits (Green Card)

green medicare card

Available to Australian Citizens and Permanent residents from the age of 15. This Medicare card holds no restrictions and will be used to claim towards:

  • Free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists and in specific circumstances dentists and other allied health practitioners,
  • Free treatment and accommodation as a public Medicare patient in a public hospital, and
  • 75% of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital. This does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines.

Interim Benefits (Blue Card)

blue medicare card

Available to those who have temporary residency and are applying for permanent residency with the Department of Immigration. Eligible applicants have the same Medicare entitlements as a person who holds a green Medicare card. The only difference is the blue interim Medicare card has a shorter expiry date (usually 12 months).

Those who hold an Interim Benefits card may purchase and claim on a Compliant Health Insurance product for Australian PHI, just as those who have full Medicare benefits.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (Yellow Card)

yellow medicare card

This is available for visitors from countries who have signed the Reciprocal Health care Agreement with Australia.

Residents of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy are entitled to the following health or injury treatments while in Australia:

  • Free treatment as a public in-patient or out-patient in a public hospital,
  • Subsidised medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and
  • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital treatment provided by a doctor.

Residents of the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand are entitled to:

  • Services as a public patient in a public hospital (including outpatient services) for medically necessary treatment medicines available on prescription which are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at the general rate.

View reference (05/05/2015)

What is the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement?

map

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with a number of countries to provide visitors from these countries with subsidised health services and medicines for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia. The countries under this agreement are:

  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • the Republic of Ireland
  • Sweden
  • the Netherlands
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Malta
  • Slovenia
  • Norway

Entitlement of cover

Residents of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy are entitled to the following health or injury treatments while in Australia:

  • Free treatment as a public in-patient or out-patient in a public hospital,
  • Subsidised medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and
  • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital treatment provided by a doctor.

Residents of the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand are entitled to:

  • Services as a public patient in a public hospital (including outpatient services) for medically necessary treatment medicines available on prescription which are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at the general rate.

Period of cover

If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway or the Netherlands you are covered for the duration of your approved visit to Australia.

Visitors from Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia require their European Health Insurance card to enrol in Medicare. They are eligible until the expiry date indicated on the card, or to the length of their authorised stay in Australia if earlier.

Visitors from Malta and Italy must be residents and citizens of those countries, and will be covered by Medicare for a period of 6 months from the date of arrival in Australia.

Students

If you are in Australia on a student visa from the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia or Italy you are covered by Medicare. Students from Norway, Finland and Malta are not covered by the agreements with those countries.

Note: It is a condition of the visa that all students take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

View reference (05/05/2015)

Will I need Overseas Visitors Cover if I am applying for a 457 or 485 Visa?

Possibly. From 14 September 2009, if you apply for Visa Subclass 457 you will be required to make arrangements for a minimum level of health insurance prior to the grant of the visa. You will need to maintain this insurance for yourself, and your family if they are joining you on the same visa, for the duration of your stay in Australia.

If however, you qualify for the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, this requirement can be waived.

View reference (05/05/2015)

“HIA simplified the process of sorting through the various policies available. It was an exceptionally quick and easy process.”

- Rebecca Crook, VIC