Health Insurance for 457 Visa applicants

Health Insurance for 457 Visa applicants

If you are applying for the Australian visa subclass 457 it is required that you make arrangements for some minimum level of health insurance prior to being granted your visa. It is also required that you keep this insurance maintained for yourself, and also for your family if they are to join you on the same visa, while ever you are staying in Australia.

All 457 applicants need to provide the DIBP with a letter from their health insurance company which will verify that they have met the 457 visa requirements. The health insurer may also wish to complete a letter in template form.

You may also submit evidence in the form of a letter from your employer which will confirm that are covered by an insurance policy that meets the 457 visa requirements this should be submitted along with details of the insurance provider and type of policy.

An exemption from the 457 health insurance visa requirements may be applied for from the DIBP if the applicant is covered by a reciprocal health care agreement and he or she has enrolled in the Australian public health care system, Medicare. Sometimes health waiver could be applied.

If you are applying for your 457 visa outside Australia you will need to arrange insurance to comply with your visa requirements, the reason being that you cannot enroll with Medicare until you set foot in Australia. Then once in Australia you may enroll in Medicare so that you can obtain exemption from DIBP.

Understanding the degree of access to the Australian health care system and knowing what these mutual agreements provide is a must. In general, access to immediate medical treatment in the Public health care system of Australia is limited so give yourself peace of mind by taking out a comprehensive health insurance plan for the full length of your stay in Australia.

If applying for the Australian visa subclass 457 a requirement is that you make arrangements for a minimum level of health insurance prior to being given your visa. If the department  have not granted you exemption from the 457 visa health insurance requirements then you must find a health insurance policy that meets the visa’s requirements.

A range of health insurance policies that comply with the 457 visa requirements are offered by health insurers throughout Australia but these policies are generally called OVHC (Overseas Visitors Health Cover). Health insurance policies that comply to the 457 visa requirements are also offered by international insurers.

The Internet is a great way to locate Overseas Health Insurance Cover, typing in the right search terms is the key, at Turner Coulson immigration lawyers we did some research and found suitable policies by typing in the keywords “Overseas Visitors Insurance” and “Overseas Visitors Health Cover” but you should be comparing policies from at least 3 providers.

When purchasing health insurance make sure that the cover that you choose suits your needs as the benefits, membership costs and eligibility may vary quite a bit between insurance policies and funds. The tips below will help you when looking for health insurance cover that meets 457 visa requirements.

  • Make sure that you are aware of the waiting periods of the policy you purchase. Most insurers will impose a 12 month waiting period for cover on pre-existing conditions, and some will not cover them at all. Because OVHC policies generally commence when you arrive in Australia, illnesses that develop while you are travelling to Australia are usually considered to be pre-existing ailments.
  • Check the restrictions and exclusions of the policy. Not everything will be covered in full and some items may not be covered at all. Remember that hospital costs for overseas visitors, even in a public hospital, are generally higher than $1,000 per day.
  • Consider taking out the highest level of hospital cover you can afford.You can choose to pay a higher excess if you do require treatment rather than having a restriction to save money on premiums.
  • Check how much your policy will cover for pharmacy as most policies only have limited cover and will not adequately cover high-cost drugs such as those used as chemotherapy drugs in cancer treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • If your visa status or Medicare eligibility changes inform your fund as soon as possible. Check with them that your policy is still suitable, as you may be able to swap to a residents’ policy.
  • Keep your policy paid & up to date. If your policy falls behind in payments, your fund may refuse claims or cancel your membership.
  • If you’re anticipating treatment, contact your fund and find out whether you will be covered and how much you will need to pay yourself. If you need treatment which isn’t covered by your insurer, ask the service provider to find out how much you will need to pay out of your own pocket. If possible, ask for a written quote.

How the Medicare Levy Surcharge might affect the type of health insurance you need

If you are:

  • a 457 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 Medicare Levy Surcharge. For further information about the Surcharge and the type of health insurance policy that exempts you from the Surcharge, please refer to the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

It is recommended that you contact the Australian Taxation Office to clarify how this may affect you.

Visas granted prior to 14 September 2009

If you were granted a 457 visa prior to 14 September 2009, your sponsor retains ultimate responsibility for the cost of treatment in a public hospital. If you change sponsors after 14 September 2009, the liability for certain health costs transfers to your new sponsor.

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