5 Ways You Can Save On Your Overseas Visitors Health Cover

2 March 2015
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there are almost half a million long-term (intended stay of more than one year) overseas visitor arrivals in Australia on a year-to-year basis. For many of these visitors, having an overseas visitors’ health cover policy (OVHC) in place is a great idea!

Having overseas visitors health insurance will help you to avoid the potential fees you may otherwise be charged for hospital admission.

The bad news is that you could still end up out of pocket if you don’t carefully follow the rules and conditions of your policy. Here are a few tips to help you choose an OVHC policy carefully and avoid an unexpected bill!

1. Check the waiting periods on your health insurance policy

The “waiting period” is the amount of time that you must have your insurance in place before being able to make a claim for a particular illness. A common example is a 12-month waiting period for medical costs due to pregnancy and childbirth.

2. Check whether there are any exclusions on your policy

An “exclusion” is something that is not covered (is excluded) under your insurance. Some policies will not cover pre-existing conditions and elective medical treatments (such as plastic surgery, for example) are commonly excluded. Remember that a cheap health insurance policy isn’t necessarily the best one for your needs.

3. Keep your policy up to date

It’s important to pay your private health insurance policy premiums on time. If you fall behind, the health insurance fund may cancel your policy or refuse any claims on medical conditions that arose while your policy was in arrears.

4. Check dollar limits that the health insurance fund will pay out for specific treatments

Not all treatments will have the cost covered in full by your insurance policy, so if you are wanting treatment, phone your health fund and check what the dollar limits will be for the procedure.

5. Be aware that there are limits on pharmacy costs

Most policies only have limited cover for pharmaceutical costs, both in terms of a per-prescription cost and a per year total cost. Ask which providers you should seek treatment from.

Health insurers may pay a higher dollar level of benefit to certain health service providers, so ensuring that you use the providers recommended by your fund should decrease your out-of-pocket expense.

Visitors health insurance can save you some big out of pocket costs. While insurance policy documents are long and difficult to read, it’s important to ensure that you DO read it – and to always phone and ask your insurer about anything that you don’t understand.

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