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Overseas visitor health insurance that makes you feel at home

Overseas visitor health insurance that makes you feel at home

New in Australia and haven’t yet sorted out your overseas visitor health insurance?

First off, welcome to Oz! It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of living in a brand new country. And with work demands and living arrangements to establish, it can be hard to navigate a busy to-do list.

However, ensuring you have adequate health insurance is not just important from a financial point of view- it’s a necessary requirement for your 457 or 485 visa application. In fact, the Department For Immigration and Border Patrol states that “it is compulsory for a 457 visa applicant to make plans for health insurance for themselves and accompanying family members”.

So before you get swept away in our sun-soaked beaches and world-class lifestyles, be sure to secure yourself with cover you can count on.

Medicare and reciprocal health care agreements

If you live in a country with reciprocal health care agreements with Australia, then consider yourself lucky! You will be eligible for Medicare benefits which may fulfil the healthcare requirements of the 457 visa. You can head to Medicare Australia to see if this would apply to you. However, this would only cover basic medical services and does not include ambulance cover, dental work, private hospital care and more. Take some time out to consider your lifestyle (and budget). Can you really afford a hefty dental bill or a costly ride to the nearest hospital?

What level of cover should I buy?

The level of cover you purchase, and where you go to see the doctor (private or bulk billed) will affect how much you pay.

Comprehensive 457 visa health cover ensures that medical claims are paid by Medicare just the same as if you were a permanent Australian resident. So if your doctor charged you $50 for a service and the Medicare benefit schedule (MBS) for the service was $50 you wouldn’t have to pay a cent (this is termed bulk billing). It’s also a rather nice feeling!

Cheaper cover policies would cover 100% of the Medicare cost, however you might be left to pay the gap (should there be one). For instance, if the doctor charges $100 and the MBS is $50 you would have to pay the difference of $50.

Some policies would cover more than the MBS. It pays to compare the various cover levels out there to try and get the best bang for your buck!

What does 457 visa health cover provide?

Overseas visitor health insurance policies typically provide cover for the following services:

Public hospital accommodation: Cover within a public hospital when treatment leads to an admission as an in-patient, or the situation has been certified by the treating doctor as a genuine emergency.

Private hospital accommodation: (Overnight and day-only) includes theatre, intensive care and ward drugs. Lower benefits apply for pregnancy, psychiatric, palliative and gastric banding procedures. Please note that waiting periods apply and pre-existing conditions may not be covered.

Outpatient services: Cover for medical or surgical care performed at hospital that will not require an overnight stay. If an overnight stay is required, you may still be considered an outpatient.

Ambulance services: Cover for ambulance service within Australia (that is provided by a State or Territory Ambulance and defined by the relevant service provider as emergency ambulance transport). Cover may also include if an ambulance is called to attend an emergency but on arriving is no longer required. If transport is defined by a treating doctor as ‘medically necessary’ it would be covered.

Funeral cover: The costs associated with returning mortal remains or ashes to the country of residence. Funeral and related costs are also covered if the body is buried or cremated at the place of death.

Medical repatriation: Medical repatriation to home country when deemed medically necessary by a medical practitioner appointed by the fund. Medical repatriation may include the cost of air fares, on-board stretcher, accompanying aero-medical specialists, and ambulance transport in your home country.

Additional benefits:

Services like dental, maternity, and private hospital accommodation could be optional extras and would not always be included in budget policies. The below table displays the various extras covered across a range of basic 457 health cover policies:

 Hover over the ticks and cross for additional information:



Minimum Working Visa Cover


Essentials Cover



Australian Unity

Budget Workers Cover

Medibank Private

Working Visa Hospital Cover

Private Hospital cover        
Maternity services      
Dental Cover          

Waiting periods

It’s important to take note that waiting periods apply to 457 Visa holders. This prevents applicants from “waiting” until they are sick or injured to buy their health insurance.

Many health funds will require policy holders to declare information regarding their medical history. Any medical treatment received recently (typically over the last six months) and any hospital treatments received over the last three years would inform any imposed waiting periods.

Based on your pre-existing injuries or illnesses, you might have to wait up to 12 months to receive benefits. Different waiting periods apply for different services like pregnancy cover, psychiatric or rehabilitation services (these can range from between two and 12 months). On the other hand most overseas visa health cover policies have no waiting periods on claims related to accidental injury.


Certain services will be excluded from your policy, particularly if your cover level is on the cheaper side. If you’ve bought basic health insurance it will be priced and valued accordingly. No surprises there!  

If a service or procedure is excluded from your policy you would not be covered for any part of it.

For example, if your 457 health insurance policy excludes cover for knee or hip replacements and you go into hospital (public or private) for one of these services, you would not receive any benefits towards your hospital or medical costs. It’s a good idea to be well acquainted with what your policy will and won’t cover before you buy. It sounds dull but a good understanding of your policy will really pay off!

457 health insurance resources

For more information on health care for visitors to Australia head to;

Why compare 457 health insurance policies

Each overseas health insurance policy will differ in their price, benefits and waiting periods. Dependant on your requirements, comparing policies can help save you money and time, ensuring you make the very best choice for your stay in Australia. There’s heaps of other ways in which you can save on your health insurance too.

Got cover? Great! Australia’s glorious landscapes and stunning cities await you. After all, life is too short to worry about a health hurdle ruining your working holiday!