Things you should know about OVHC
Visitors to Australia who do not have access to the country’s public Medicare system can purchase Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC), a type of health insurance, to cover any hospital or medical costs. If you need medical or hospital care, OVHC will cover any potential costs you could incur.
If you are applying for a working visa (482 or 485) or a student visa (485), for example, it can be a requirement of your visa that you possess a form of OVHC.
What does OVHC Cover?
Each OVHC insurance will be unique in terms of benefits, eligibility, and price. However, the majority of policies ought to pay for some or all of your medically necessary doctor visits and hospital hospitalizations.
You have the option of purchasing General Treatment Coverage in addition to coverage for hospital and medical costs. Health care professionals in private practice, such as dentists, optometrists, and physiotherapists, are covered by General Treatment Cover. These expenses may be partially covered by insurance, but you would still be responsible for paying a portion of the expenditures.
Health coverage for foreign tourists is not covered by Lifetime Health Cover or the private health insurance rebate. Costs associated with purchasing health insurance for foreign tourists are subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
What may not be covered?
When choosing a policy, be careful because some may offer lower benefits or none at all for specific treatments and waiting periods may differ. In addition, some policies may permanently bar coverage for pre-existing conditions, making such conditions ineligible for coverage in the future. For more information on what to look for when buying coverage, see the Tips on health insurance for travelers.
Pharmaceuticals are only partially covered by most health insurance plans for international travelers. If overseas tourists require pharmaceutical therapy, particularly cancer treatment, they may incur high out-of-pocket expenses.
Where can I purchase OVHC?
Certain health insurers and some general insurers based in Australia offer coverage for travelers to Australia. You may also choose to be protected by insurance contracts from other nations. Keep in mind that if your visa contains requirements for your health insurance, you must obtain the kind and amount of insurance that are listed in your visa.
An excellent place to look for Visitor insurance is in our InsuranceBooking Website. We advise you to conduct a search engine query for “Overseas Visitors Insurance” or “Overseas Visitors Health Cover” and contrast at least three insurers’ policies.
Additionally, especially if you are visiting Australia for a little period of time, you might want to think about getting travel insurance. Loss of travel goods and repatriation in the event of a medical emergency are two things that visitors’ insurance may not cover. Prior to traveling abroad, you should acquire travel insurance in your place of residence.
Medicare: Australia’s public health system
Foreign tourists with temporary visas are typically not allowed to utilize Medicare, unlike Australian citizens who can use it to pay for their hospital and medical expenditures.
This implies that you may incur significant financial hardship if you require medical care while traveling to Australia. You can be charged more than $1,000 per day in hospital expenses alone, even in a public hospital. Without health insurance, you can end yourself paying the full cost of your treatment.
If you’re not sure whether you eligible for Medicare, you should check with your local Medicare office or call Medicare (Services Australia).
Inform your insurer as soon as possible if your Medicare eligibility or visa status changes at any moment to determine if your current level of coverage is still appropriate.
Under the reciprocal health care agreement between your country and Australia, most visitors from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, and New Zealand often have access to Medicare. This entitles you to free emergency medical care in the public health system, which you would not otherwise be eligible for.
However, you are not covered by reciprocal Medicare benefits for treatment as a private patient in a hospital, and other restrictions can be in place depending on your nation (for example, in some cases the benefits expire after you have been in Australia for a certain period of time). To find out what benefits and restrictions are applicable to you, check the terms of the reciprocal Medicare agreement with your nation.
You should consider taking OVHC if you want to be covered for items that are not covered under the agreements.
How the Medicare Levy Surcharge might affect the type of health insurance you need
If you are:
- having a high income (in the current fiscal year, over $90,000 for a single person, or $180,000 for a spouse or family);
- considered resident in Australia for tax purposes; and
- have completed the enrolment process for Medicare (for any level of coverage, including reciprocal, intermediate, or full);
then the Medicare Levy Surcharge might apply to you. Please see the Medicare Levy Surcharge for more details on the Surcharge and the types of health insurance that will exclude you from paying it.