Health insurance

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We encourage all prospective visitors and residents, whether temporary or permanent, to have adequate health insurance cover to meet their particular health needs while staying in Australia. Your health insurer can be in your home country or Australia, but if you are a student visa holder you must obtain health insurance from an Australian health insurance provider. The government's Private Health website compares a range of insurance products so you can make an informed choice on which health cover works for you.

Health insurance for temporary visa holders

If you apply for certain temporary visa subclasses, for example a Student visa you will be asked to provide evidence of adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia. More information on the health insurance requirement for temporary visa subclasses is available on the relevant visa page. 

If you are 75 years of age or over, we strongly recommend you take out health insurance each time you travel to Australia. If you require treatment in a public hospital, you will not be covered by Australia’s national health scheme (Medicare), unless your home country has a reciprocal health care arrangement and you meet certain requirements.

Reciprocal health care agreements

Visa holders from countries with reciprocal health care agreements are only provided essential health cover by Medicare. Many expensive health items such as ambulance, most dental work, a range of non-subsidised medicines, private patient hospital might not covered by the arrangements, check the Department of Human Services website. Visa holders might choose to obtain more comprehensive health insurance coverage as the reciprocal health insurance cover is for a restricted duration for some visitors and the entitlement is limited by each country's agreement.

Private health insurance ombudsman

The private health insurance ombudsman provides an independent service to assist consumers, including temporary visa holders, with health insurance problems and enquiries. The ombudsman can deal with complaints from health fund members, health funds, private hospitals or medical practitioners. Complaints must be about a health insurance arrangement.