Does Health Insurance Cover You Overseas?

“If you’re planning a trip overseas and you already have health insurance in Australia, there’s no need to take out travel insurance.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Canstar explains why…

Is travel insurance included in your private health insurance?

No. Private health insurance is only applicable within the borders of Australia. Should a policy holder become ill or be involved in an accident overseas, private health insurance will not provide any coverage. Medicare is also confined to our borders and will not be of any assistance to travellers.

There are many different things that travel insurance covers, and emergency medical treatment is only one of them. Other coverage that travel insurance provides can include:

  • Loss of luggage
  • Cancelled flights
  • Medical evacuation or repatriation

There are, however, health insurance policies which will cover the costs for pre-travel injections e.g. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

What country are you travelling to?

The Australian Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHCA) involves 11 countries from around the world:

·         Belgium ·         Finland
·         Ireland ·         Italy
·         Malta ·         The Netherlands
·         New Zealand ·         Norway
·         Slovenia ·         Sweden
·         The United Kingdom

If you are travelling to one of these countries, you will be able to apply for benefits to cover the cost of immediate necessary medical treatments in the public health system. However, it’s always recommended that you take out travel insurance as an extra precaution.

What insurance should I purchase before I travel?

If you are going overseas, it is strongly recommended that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy. Health treatment in other countries can be horrendously expensive, so the peace of mind of having a travel insurance policy in place before you set off is well worth it.

Also, if you are thinking of suspending your health insurance for the duration of an overseas trip, be aware that this could leave you liable for Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). A suspension is taken as a period of no cover so, if applicable, the MLS will be charged on the days which the policy is suspended. You also run the risk of not being covered for the illness or accident you sustained overseas when you return to Australia.

Search for travel insurance for your trip using the Canstar website. View our comparison table below that provides a snapshot of the current market offerings with links to the providers website. Please note that this table has been formulated for a single looking for cover for the USA who is below 70 years of age, sorted by our star rating (highest to lowest, A-Z). Try this tool out for yourself here.


If you don’t already have great value health insurance, search for the right policy for you using the Canstar website with links to the providers website. You can view a snapshot of some low monthly premium policies available in the market. Please note that this table is formulated based on a single male seeking hospital cover in NSW. Try this tool out for yourself here.

Sponsored products are paid advertisements and do not include all providers. Canstar receives a fee for referring you to the advertiser. Canstar is not giving you advice in relation to sponsored products. 

Products displayed above that are not “Sponsored” are sorted by monthly premium. Canstar may receive a fee for referral of leads from these products. See How We Get Paid for further information. If you decide to apply for health insurance, you will deal directly with an insurance provider, and not with CANSTAR.

Consider the provider’s detailed product and pricing information before making a decision to purchase a policy. The products displayed on this page do not include all providers and may not compare all features relevant to you. View the Canstar Health Insurance Star Ratings Methodology and Report. The rating shown is only one factor to take into account when considering products.

The Star Ratings in the health insurance table were awarded in September, 2016 and data is as at that date, updated from time to time to reflect product changes notified to us by product issuers. The Star Ratings in the travel insurance table were awarded in August 2016. View the CANSTAR Travel Insurance Star Ratings Methodology and Report

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