Government Information about OVHC insurance
If you are applying for or holding a temporary working visa or other visa that is granted subject to condition 8501 (OVHC condition), you are responsible for all your health costs while you are in Australia and you need to maintain adequate health insurance. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.
The OVHC condition requires you to make arrangements for a minimum level of health insurance prior to the grant of the visa. You are also required to keep this insurance for you and your family for the entire duration of your stay in Australia. These insurance policies are commonly referred to as Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC).
When you apply for one of these visas, you need to show that you have arranged an insurance policy that will cover you and your family while you are in Australia. This insurance must meet a minimum level of coverage required for the visa. Only a small subset of the Australian health insurance market offer policies that comply with these minimum requirements.
You may be able to apply to the Department of Immigration for an exemption from the OVHC condition if you are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement and you have enrolled in Medicare.
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
Reciprocal health care agreements cover the cost of some health services and subsidised medicines when residents from some countries are in Australia. The Australian Government currently has agreements with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway.
The Department of Immigration assesses eligibility for reciprocal arrangements on an individual basis.
Proof of insurance
As described above, when you apply for a visa with an OVHC condition you need to show evidence that you have arranged an adequate health insurance policy. This evidence is usually in the form of a letter or certificate from an insurance company indicating that you and your family members will be covered by an insurance policy that is at least as comprehensive as required by the visa program. There are many different health insurance policies in Australia. You should ensure that your insurance policy definitely meets the OVHC minimum standard.
If you cancel your policy during your stay or you do not comply with your OVHC condition, you may have your visa cancelled. You should be aware that Immigration officers use information provided by insurance companies to monitor compliance with the OVHC condition. This may also jeopardise any future visa applications you make.
Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS)
If you are:
- a temporary working visa holder;
- on a high income;
- considered resident in Australia for tax purposes; and
- have successfully enrolled in Medicare;
then you may be affected by the MLS. The MLS is levied on Australian taxpayers who do not have private hospital cover. The surcharge is calculated at the rate of 1% to 1.5% of your income. See more information on income thresholds and MLS rates.