Working Visa Health Cover

Compare working visa insurance policies with our latest report. Find out who offers outstanding value on their policies.


Compare working visa health cover

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Australia is a great place to live and work, whether you’re on a long stay 457 working visa or a 417 working holiday visa. We have more wide open country to explore than almost any other country, and we have a great range of natural environment, from the amazingly white, sandy beaches, to the refreshing rainforests, to the stunning deserts of Uluru.

In order to come to Australia to work (and explore), you must first get working visa health insurance. We can help you compare working visa health cover and choose which working visa health cover will suit you best!

What is working visa health cover?

Working visa health cover is a type of health insurance that you must have if you are an international worker visiting Australia to work. Working visa health cover pays part or all of the cost if you have to visit the doctor, go to hospital, need an ambulance, or need to buy pharmacy medicines.

International workers must have working visa health cover because you cannot access our public health system, so you need private health insurance to pay for your healthcare. This is called Condition 8501, and all the working visa health cover providers we researched meet this condition.

You must have health insurance for the whole time you are here on a working visa, and you must take out a policy before you arrive in Australia. If you extend your visa, you must renew your working visa health cover policy.

If your family is coming overseas with you, your spouse (husband or wife) and children under 18 years old must also be covered by working visa health cover. Your partner or family can be covered by your working visa even if they are not working. You need to choose a Couples or Family policy in order to cover someone other than yourself.

Some insurers may charge more for a couple’s policy than a policy for two single people (it is possible that they believe a couple would be more likely to claim for childbirth, which is an expensive admission to hospital). The cost of a family policy may also be more than the cost of a couple’s policy – although sometimes the cost might also be the same.

If you decide that your health cover is too expensive or doesn’t cover what you want, you can switch to a different insurance provider, as long as you do not let your policy lapse.

Compare working visa health insurance policies

If you are looking for working visa health cover, find the insurance that provides outstanding value for international workers. In 2016, CANSTAR compared 19 working visa health insurance policies from 9  providers. Compare features and prices for working visa health cover in Australia on the CANSTAR website.

Compare Working Visa Health Cover with CANSTAR

Use the Department of Immigration Visa Finder online to find out which working visa you need: Make sure when you are apply for health cover that it will satisfy the conditions specific to you visa types.

  • 457 Long Stay Working
  • 417 Holiday Working
  • 462 Work and Holiday
  • 442 Occupational
  • 400 Temporary Work Short Stay
  • 401 Temporary Work Long Stay
  • 402 Training and Research
  • 403 Temporary Work International Relations
  • 470 Professional Development
  • 476 Skilled Recognised Graduate
  • 485 Skilled Graduate
  • 186 Employer Nomination Scheme
  • 187 Regional Sponsored Migration
  • 188 Business Innovation and Investment
  • 456 Business Short Stay
  • 459 Sponsored Business Visitor
  • 132 Business Talent Permanent
  • 188 Business Innovation and Investment Provisional
  • 189 Skilled Independent
  • 190 Skilled Nominated
  • 489 Skilled Nominated or Sponsored Provisional

If you are a from a country which has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia such as the United Kingdom, Malta, Finland, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, or Slovenia, you may be able to enrol in Medicare (Australia’s public health insurance system) when you arrive in Australia and obtain an exemption from having to hold health insurance as a condition of your visa! You can find out more on reciprocal agreements here.

Since you cannot enrol in Medicare from outside Australia, you will still need to have adequate health cover when you arrive. Remember that Medicare only covers treatment in a public hospital, and you will still need to consider whether private health insurance is right for you. Not having an adequate level of private health cover might mean you have to pay a larger amount of tax in Australia in the form of the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).

There are two levels of cover for working visa health insurance:

  1. Hospital
  2. Hospital and Medical

At a minimum, working visa health insurance will help cover the costs involved in being admitted to a hospital within Australia. This includes the cost of the hospital bed, operating theatre fees, medicines, the cost of any medical procedures, and any emergency ambulance transport. Policies may also cover some types of medical services that are used outside of a hospital. Hospital cover should include all surgical procedures covered on the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS), such as:

  • Ambulance services
  • Your stay in a private hospital (for private hospital polices)
  • Your stay overnight in a private or shared room (accommodation)
  • Same day admission fee
  • Intensive care
  • Surgery operating theatre fees
  • Your stay in a public hospital as a private patient (accommodation)
  • Doctor’s fee for in-hospital medical services as a private patient
  • Pharmacy medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) taken while in hospital
  • Emergency accidental injury
  • Cardiac (heart services)
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Removal of appendix (appendicitis)
  • Removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Removal of wisdom teeth in hospital
  • Eye surgery including cataract lens
  • Rehabilitation and physiotherapy in hospital
  • Joint replacement and joint reconstruction
  • Pregnancy, assisted reproductive IVF, and childbirth (obstetrics) (waiting periods will apply)
  • Hysterectomy
  • Sterilisation
  • Psychiatric treatment (waiting periods will apply)
  • Renal dialysis (for kidney failure)
  • Colonoscopy
  • Gastric banding
  • Palliative care
  • Plastic non-cosmetic surgery (where medically necessary)
  • Prosthetics (surgically implanted)
  • All other in-hospital services on the MBS

If you want to be covered for any out of hospital costs, you might want to consider Hospital and Medical cover. In addition to the hospital inclusions above…

Medical cover may include:

  • General Practitioners (GP)
  • Specialists
  • Radiology (X-ray, MRI, CAT)
  • Pathology (e.g. blood tests)
  • Prescription pharmacy medicines (listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)

If you would also like to be covered for other common medical services like a trip to the dentist, optometrist, physiotherapist, chiropractor, remedial massage, cancer screenings and more, you should consider an Extras Cover health insurance policy to add to your working visa health insurance. Some insurers also offer policies that include hospital, medical, and extras cover.

Any costs and charges above the benefit paid by your insurer will be part of your “gap”, which is your out-of-pocket expenses.

Policies researched by CANSTAR for working visa holders ranged greatly in cost.

Premium Costs For Working Visa Health Cover (One Month)
Policy Type Min. Average Max.
Single $75 $135 $213
Couple $149 $277 $426
Family $150 $303 $469
Based on policies researched by CANSTAR 2016

There are a few waiting periods you need to know about for working visa health cover. Working visa health insurance providers may make you wait to claim benefits back if you access healthcare for:

  • Treatment for pre-existing medical conditions, disabilities and pregnancy-related services – waiting period 12 months.
  • Treatment for pre-existing psychiatric conditions – waiting period 2 months.

These waiting periods start from the day you arrive in Australia on your working visa. If you switch insurance providers part of the way through your visa, you will not have to serve the waiting periods again.

The insurance providers who offer working visa health cover in 2016 are:

  1. Allianz Global Assistance
  2. Australian Unity
  3. Bupa Australia
  4. Frank (GMHBA)
  5. HBF
  6. HCF
  7. HIF
  8. Medibank
  9. IMAN Australia Health Plans (a subsidiary of nib)
  10. Westfund

You can buy your working visa health cover through your employer or you can buy it online on an insurance provider’s website. You can choose your own insurance provider, even if your employer has a “preferred provider” and recommends that you choose their provider. This is different to in previous years, when only your employer could arrange your health insurance.

You can use the myVEVO “Visa Entitlement Verification Online” app (available for Android and Apple devices) to check your Australian visa expiry date, work rights, study rights, and travel conditions. You can also email your visa details directly from myVEVO to your employer, school or other organisation.

You can transfer to a different working visa health insurance provider anytime. If you paid in advance for your working visa health cover, you can get a refund, but you may have to pay a ‘refund processing fee’.

You must buy a new working visa health insurance policy before you can get a refund from your previous insurance provider, because you must have insurance for the whole time you are in Australia. You will not have to wait the waiting periods again after you change working visa health cover providers, provided you are transferring to a policy with the same level of cover as your previous one.

Compare Health Insurance Policies with CANSTAR