Health Insurance Policies for Temporary Visa Holders
Temporary visa holders in Australia have been required since September 2009 to provide proof that they have arranged appropriate health insurance in Australia prior to their visas being issued. Proof needs to be in the form of a letter from an Australian insurance company confirming that health insurance has been arranged and any policy must meet Australian government (DIAC) requirements.
Online access to complying health insurance policies is available online through a number of providers, but we provide direct access to a health insurance broker who is able to assist in selecting between the available policies. Should you wish to be contacted by our health broker, please complete one of our Inquiry Forms and contact will be made promptly. No additional cost attaches to arranging cover through a broker and you have the added benefit of advice, particularly if your situation is at all unusual.
Medicare Coverage - Employees from Reciprocal Healthcare Countries
Sponsored Employees, directly recruited from a country with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), may be eligible for Medicare benefits. For taxation purposes, these visa holders are treated in the same manner as Australian citizens and are subject to the same tax payments (Medicare Levy) and penalties (Medicare Levy Surcharge) as Australian citizens. RHCA Agreements are currently in place with the following eleven countries:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- Malta (6 months only)
- Italy (6 Months only)
- Ireland (Hospital only)
Treatment under the RHCA is generally limited to immediately necessary treatment which occurred after arrival in Australia (ie. pre-existing conditions are not covered), and includes the following:
- subsidised out-of-hospital medical treatment (visiting a doctor) under Medicare
- subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which arose after arrival in Australia, and
- treatment in a public hospital.
Sponsored employees from non-RHCA countries are able to request a refund for the Medicare Levy in arrears by applying to the Minister. Note that, for Lifetime Health Cover purposes, eligibility for Medicare does not include people who have limited eligibility under the RHCA. This means that the grace period for migrants who have limited eligibility under a RHCA does not start until they are granted full eligibility for Medicare – which starts when they apply for Permanent Residency.
Life and Travel Insurance cover for Temporary Visa Holders
Finally, note that Life Insurance cover for Temporary visa holders is available from major Australian Insurers with TPD and Income Protection cover also available. Travel insurance for 457 and other visa holders has also been a problem in the past with many companies requiring Australian citizenship or permanent residency, but it is now possible to arrange coverage online for most temporary visa holders - see our page on travel insurance for Temporary residents.