In Australia, the costs of medical treatment for eligible persons are either covered, or partially covered by Medicare. Your eligibility for Medicare coverage may vary during the time you live in Australia depending on your country of origin, class of visa, and length of stay. The conditions of your visa may specify that you maintain a minimum level of health insurance.
Standard Australian extras insurance - this type of insurance covers dental, optical, physiotherapy and other allied health services - you can be covered in Australia (however not by Doctors' Health Fund as Australian citizenship or permanent residency is a fund membership requirement) because Medicare does not have a role in paying for the services covered.
Standard Australian hospital insurance policies are designed for holders of Medicare cards, they cover services provided while you are an admitted patient in a hospital or day surgery. These policies may not comply with the conditions of your visa. For instance, a 457 visa requires insurance benefits which will cover your medical bills when you are an admitted patient for charges up to 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee. A standard Australian hospital policy usually only offers cover for the medical treatment charges which exceed the amount an eligible person receives as a benefit from Medicare.
Some health insurers provide a product which is called overseas visitors cover. The following links to government websites offer information about overseas visitors health insurance:
Doctors’ Health Fund doesn't offer an overseas visitors cover product for hospital because the pool of doctors needing this insurance is too small for us to provide a product at a reasonable price.
If you have any questions about overseas visitor health cover, please call the Department of Health on: 1800 020 103 (free call – anywhere in Australia).
Once you have full Medicare cover, if you are over 30 years old you have 12 months to get standard Australian hospital insurance. If you do not and are over 30 years old you may be affected by the Australian Government Lifetime Health Cover loading. The loading will only apply to your hospital insurance not your extras insurance.
For more information about Lifetime Health Cover, visit www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/LifetimeHealthCover.aspx