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Many visas issued by the Australian Government for entry into the country include condition 8501, which relates to the need to maintain private health insurance whilst in Australia. This condition has to be satisfied to be successful in gaining a large number of visas, including work and study visas, temporary visitors and extended holiday visas.
Savvy can help you in your journey to find the health insurance you need to fulfil your visa requirements. We help make the process quick and easy so you can get your health insurance sorted out online today. Compare policies so you can see what’s available on the market from a panel of leading Australian insurers. Get your visa-compliant health insurance sorted out through Savvy today!
What is the 8501 visa condition?
To satisfy visa condition 8501, you need to provide proof that you hold adequate health insurance to cover you while you visit, work or study in Australia. This is because most foreign nationals who visit won’t be covered by Australia’s public health system, known as Medicare, which is funded by all tax-paying Australians. The only exceptions to this requirement are those from a limited number of nations with which Australia has a reciprocal health care agreement.
If you're a student from Sweden, Norway or Belgium, you may be eligible for Australia's Medicare system and may not need to buy overseas student health cover. If you are an overseas visitor from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, the Republic of Ireland, Norway and New Zealand, you will generally have access to Medicare under you country's reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, and so may not need to purchase overseas visitors health cover either.
What cover is required to satisfy condition 8501?
For your health insurance to be visa-compliant, it must offer the following:
- Cover for the cost of being treated in a public hospital, which is known as hospital cover
- Cover for emergency transport to hospital, which is known as ambulance cover
- Cover for the cost of medications which are covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Cover for all treatments listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
What are my options for health insurance which complies with visa condition 8501?
There are two types of health insurance which may cover visa applicants who have the 8501 condition as part of their visa requirements. One offers cover to students and those intending to study in Australia for an extended period, and the other offers cover for temporary visitors. The differences between these two policies are:
Overseas Student Health Cover
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance specifically designed for those wishing to study in Australia for an extended period. It may be suitable for those applying for the following visas:
- Student visa (subclass 500)*
- Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)*
- Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)*
- Training visa (subclass 407)*
This type of insurance is available in a range of levels, which start at the cheapest basic level and range in price up to the top levels of cover. In general terms, the more coverage you receive under your policy and the fewer the out-of-pocket expenses when making claims, the more you’ll likely have to pay for your insurance.
This form of insurance is issued on an annual basis and must be prepaid in advance of the visa application for the full duration sought in the visa. For example, if you wish to remain in Australia for three years’ study, you must pay for three years of health insurance to qualify for the visa, as this will show your coverage will be maintained across your visa’s length.
Overseas Visitors Health Cover
Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) offers a similar amount of basic cover as student health cover, but it is issued on a month-by-month basis. It may be suitable for the following visa applicants:
- Visitor visa (subclass 600)*
- Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)*
- Working holiday visa (subclass 417)*
- Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)*
There are many other visa subclasses which may include the 8501 health insurance condition, so you should check with the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs to find out exactly which conditions apply to the visa you wish to apply for.
*Visa titles correct as of March 2023, but subject to change.
How do I compare different health insurance policies which comply with 8501 conditions?
All of the insurance policies offered for overseas visitors or students by Savvy’s partners comply with visa requirements for adequate health insurance. These are some questions to ask yourself when considering different policies:
- Does the policy provide cover for extras, which are treatments and services provided outside of a hospital setting, such as physio and dental services?
- If the policy does provide extras cover, what are the inclusions and exclusions?
- Are there waiting periods to be able to claim extras benefits?
- Does the policy cover air and road transport by ambulance?
- Does the policy have an overall benefit limit?
- Does it provide any cover for the cost of visiting a GP?
- Are there any co-payments required if you’re admitted to hospital?
- Does it offer cover for pregnancy and obstetric care (if you’re planning to extend your family whilst in Australia)?
- Is there an allowance for repatriation back to your home country in the case of severe illness or even your death?
Types of health insurance
This can help you pay for medical treatment if you need to be admitted to hospital. It can help cover the cost of your admission or accommodation and the fees charged by doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists. It can also cover other costs associated with a stay in a private hospital.
This helps cover the costs of health care treatments outside a hospital setting which aren’t covered by Medicare. This can include major and minor dental treatment, orthodontics, hearing aids, physiotherapy, glasses, contact lenses and podiatry (in most cases with annual limits).
This is a standard health insurance policy designed for a single person, rather than being tailored to cater to the needs of a couple or family. It may include hospital cover plus extras, or either of these types of insurance on their own, depending on what you're after for your health cover.
A family health insurance policy is designed for a family unit including dependent children who may reach up to 31 years of age with some insurers. It offers private health insurance suitable for the whole family and may include shared limits for all members included in your policy.
A health insurance policy aimed at seniors is designed to appeal to people who are in the second half of their life. These are often specific Silver Plus policies that offer the same cover as other health insurance policies, with the exception that pregnancy and childbirth cover may not be included.
Visitors who are in Australia on a temporary basis for travel, work or study may be able to take out Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC). Many visas issued in Australia come with a requirement to take out this type of insurance, which covers visitors who may not be covered by Medicare.
Ambulance cover is generally available either packaged into your private health insurance or on its own as a separate policy or subscription. By having this protection, you could be covered for all eligible ambulance travel in Australia (subject to your insurer's terms and conditions).
The cheapest and most barebones form of private hospital insurance, this can include cover for rehab, in-hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Having this policy will enable you to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.
Bronze hospital cover is a step up from basic insurance, including 18 further clinical categories such as ear, nose and throat, bone, joint and muscle, digestive system, joint reconstructions, gynaecology and chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer.
Silver hospital cover is the second-most expensive type of policy and offers the second-most clinical categories. On top of what's offered by basic and bronze cover, it also includes heart and vascular system, lung and chest, blood, hearing device implantation and dental surgery.
The highest level of private hospital insurance available in Australia, gold policies can offer cover for pregnancy and birth, weight loss surgery, assisted reproductive services and insulin pumps on top of all the categories provided by silver, bronze and basic hospital insurance.
Why compare health insurance through Savvy?
More of your frequently asked questions about visa condition 8501
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