Overseas Visitors Health Cover
Understanding healthcare in Australia
Whether you’re on a working visa, or just visiting Australia as a tourist, learn about how the Australian healthcare system works and what it means for you.
Healthcare in Australia
How does the Australian healthcare system work?
Australia’s national health care system is split into two parts:
The public health system
Known as Medicare, the Australian government provides free or subsidised health care to Australian residents. It’s funded by Australian tax payers who pay a percentage of their income to cover Medicare costs.
The private health system
What does private health insurance cover?
Private hospital insurance helps to cover the cost of accommodation and procedures in a private hospital (and sometimes also includes cover in public hospitals). Private extras insurance gives you money back on treatments by health service providers. For example, private insurance can cover things like:
About visas and private health insurance
If you’re not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, your visa may require that you hold an appropriate level of health insurance. For example, this can apply to the following visa types:
- Working Visas including 482 and 485
- Visitor Visas including 600 and 601
- Working Holiday Visas including 417 and 462
Under some visas, you may be required to meet condition 8501. Condition 8501 means that you must have and maintain adequate health insurance for the whole of your stay in Australia.
All our Working Visa Covers meet condition 8501. None of our current Non-Working Visa Covers meet these requirements.
Even if your visa type does not require you to have health insurance, it is still a smart idea.
Why get health insurance?
Avoid expensive fees for treatment
Gain control over who treats you and when
Choose cover that meets your needs (and budget)
About Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with a number of countries. These agreements allow visitors from these countries to receive some subsidised health services for essential medical treatment in Australia through Medicare (visitors from countries without an RHCA must pay for treatments with their own money.)
It’s important to note that even if you’re covered by a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, you may still need to maintain health insurance to satisfy your visa requirements.
Also, the RCHA is not designed to replace private health insurance. For example, it does not cover things like treatments in private hospitals, ambulance services, and extras services including dental and optical.
You can find out whether you’re covered under a RHCA, and if you are, what level of cover you have, at the Department of Human Services website.