Health Insurance For 8501 Visa Requirement

Find out about the requirements to meet the Australian Government 8501 visa health insurance condition and compare quotes with Savvy today.  

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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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: 

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: 

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

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More of your frequently asked questions about visa condition 8501

How much will health insurance cost to comply with the 8501 visa condition?

There is no set or average cost of health insurance in Australia, as it’ll depend on the type and level of policy you buy, as well as where you’re planning to stay. Through Savvy, you’ll be able to choose between policies which offer very minimum cover for the lowest cost, right up to top-level policies which offer substantial cover across many types of treatment. 

What isn’t included in health insurance that complies with 8501 conditions?

With private health insurance in Australia, you may not be covered for the following: 

  • Any surgery which isn’t considered medically necessary (which can include cosmetic surgery such as facelifts and tummy tucks, through to laser eye surgery, breast reduction or enlargement or tattoo removal) 
  • Many alternative medicines and therapies, such as iridology  
  • Stem cell, bone marrow and organ transplants 
  • Reproductive medicine including IVF treatment 
  • Treatments provided outside of Australia, including en route to or from the country, such as in the case of air repatriation to your home country 
Will the health cover provided with my travel insurance be sufficient for visa requirements?

Even though some travel insurance policies do offer limited health cover, such policies often don’t comply with the ‘adequate health cover’ 8501 visa condition. Therefore, it’s most likely that you will have to purchase either student cover or overseas visitors cover in addition to your travel insurance.  

Does my overseas visitors health cover include coverage for my family too?

It may – you can buy visitors health cover for a single person, a couple or a family, so if you are intending to visit Australia with your family or even your parents, you’ll be able to get health insurance to cover everyone. 

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