Hand – In – Hand: Australia Visas and Health Covers

Traveling abroad demands in-depth preparation in various aspects. The key among them are finance, housing, university or job, and of course, health. The last one seems to be more crucial in ongoing times like COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, your foremost aim should be to secure the best Overseas Health Insurance as per your current health condition.

Let’s start right from the basics. Why Overseas Health Insurance is necessary in Australia? Is it over – hyped? Is it compulsory and why? Can’t we just use Medicare? Is it necessary to extend health cover when we extend our visa?

Let’s take a while and know the answers to the most frequently asked questions when people relate the terms: Visa, Overseas Health Insurance, Australia, Compulsory, Cost & Comparison, Extending/Renewing OSHC/OVHC Insurance.

As many of us know, Australia is one of the few nations that brags about the level of medical facilities it provides to its people and citizens. The public health care system a.k.a Medicare, covers all doctor charges at public hospitals. It also reimburses as much as 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for a general practitioner and 85% of the MBS fee for a specialist. Medicare is not just about fee reimbursement or free treatment, it also encompasses eye tests, surgical procedures by dentists, various tests undertaken by patients such as X – rays, pathology tests etc.

However, Medicare stays limited to Australia and a few countries that has Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements (RHA) with Australia. Subject to various types of visa and policies, Australia has an RHA with countries like Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom.

The healthcare system in Australia is dear and can account for massive out-of-pocket expenses if not covered with appropriate overseas health insurance. One day at a hospital in Australia with a private bed and consultations could cost a person as much as $1000

As various types of visas have various health requirements, it becomes important for us to check the requirements as stated by the Department of Home Affairs, Australia. Let’s understand some of them.

  • All student visas, under subclass 500, requires students to have and maintain an OSHC Health Cover during their entire period of stay in Australia. The ONLY exemptions for an OSHC insurance is if students are from Norway, Sweden or Belgium – covered under various agreements. To everyone else, it stands compulsory.
  • Students under Temporary Graduate Visas, under subclass 485, are also mandated to have an adequate OVHC insurance (Overseas Visitors Health Cover) during their stay in Australia. If the applicant hails from the country Australia has a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHA) with, they might be covered under Medicare.
  • For Visitor visas, under subclass 600, are not mandated to possess an Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) insurance however, it is recommended not to travel without one unless you wish to spend $1000-$2000 everyday unnecessary.

But insurance once done is done. No need to extend or renew, right? Well, you may want to re-think and do things differently.

Sam is studying in Australia and rightfully has an OSHC insurance to save him from medical expenses. He wishes to extend his stay and pursue Masters to have better career prospects.
His friend Bert, who is working in the university library is going through the same conundrum to extend his working visa.

So, what do they do? Can they extend their visa applications without extending their health insurances? The answer is simple. No, they can’t.

When one renews their student visa or working visa, they also have to renew their OSHC or working visa health cover. They have to have the relevant overseas health insurances till the date they wish to stay in Australia.

To make the matter simple, Sam can visit GetMyPolicy.online to view, compare & buy the best health policy as per his needs to renew OSHC insurance. Similarly, Bert can renew his working visa health cover and align it with his needs and specifications by comparing various plans from visitors’ insurance providers. GetMypolicy.online enlists all the government-approved OSHC like Ahm, Allianz Global Assistance, Bupa OSHC, Medibank, OSHC Nib etc.

With the renewed status of their respective overseas health insurance, they will be eligible to extent their visa. But hey, what happens if they forget to renew their health covers?
In Sam’s case, if his student health cover expires when in Australia on a student visa, he can still renew OSHC insurance for the rest of his student visa, but will have to pay the premiums for the gap period when he did not have the cover. He will also not be able to claim any benefits during the expired period of his student’s health cover.

In a similar fashion, if Bert’s OVHC insurance policy expires when he’s in Australia on a working visa, he will still be able to renew OVHC insurance. However, if his visa expires, it will be termed as invalid and he will now have to appear for a new visa. It would have been ideal for him had he renewed the same before the expiry of his existing working visa. Moreover, he’ll need to keep in mind to not only to extend his working visa in time but also renew OVHC insurance before it gets lapse.
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