Taking out overseas visitors health cover is a very important part of overseas travel. Travelling without health cover is a great risk and can lead to significant costs for unexpected health-related services or treatments away from home. Find out how you can compare the best overseas visitors health cover options in this comprehensive guide.
Overseas visitors health cover (OVHC) is essential in providing private health insurance to foreign visitors in Australia. As most foreigners who travel to Australia do not have access to our public Medicare system, OVHC helps to insure visitors for potential expenses in the event of requiring hospital or medical treatment.
For in-hospital services, a doctor, surgeon or anaesthetist will charge you a fee. If your relevant medical practitioner charges you the MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) fee and the corresponding service is included in your OVHC, you will be insured. Should they choose to charge you above the MBS fee for your medical treatment or service, you will be liable to pay the remaining difference.
For any out-of-hospital services or treatments, cover will depend on the level of OVHC policy you take out. Under basic-level cover, any visit to a GP (local doctor) for minor health issues will incur a fee. Should you have a mid-level or top-level cover, this visit and the treatment at your GP will be covered under your OVHC.
In certain circumstances, you may be required to take out OVHC. For instance:
All OVHC policies are different and the type of cover which is included will depend on the level of OVHC you take out. You will have three levels of cover to choose from: these are basic level, mid-level, and top-level cover. Each level of cover varies in price with top-level cover offering the most comprehensive range of inclusions. As a guide, the usual features of OVHC policies at each level are included below. Please note, inclusions may vary between policies.
|OVHC level||Common inclusions|
Covers all the basic level of inclusions plus:
Covers everything the basic and mid-level policies do but to a greater extent.
There are a few key benefits to taking out OVHC:
To begin comparing your options, you first need to figure out what health cover features matter to you most. Are you fine with the most basic OVHC option which only offers partial cover for hospital bills? Or do you want more comprehensive cover for hospital bills and other features such as GP visits or physical therapy?
Furthermore, it’s important to figure out the monthly price of OVHC which you can afford based on a travel or living budget. Whether you be in Australia for travel purposes or working and living here, expenses can build up and it’s important you work out the price of cover you can afford.
Ensure you prioritise each of the following when utilising Savvy’s comparison services to compare difference OVHC policies:
While some may deem it a non-essential expense when travelling, opting to not take out health cover could result in you facing fees and overwhelming debt. Taking out OVHC will give you peace of mind, and an ability to travel carefree knowing you’re insured should a worst-case scenario eventuate and you be required to undergo medical treatment or services.
In addition, certain visas require that you take out health cover to have your visa approved. As a general rule, if you are expecting to work in Australia, OVHC is mandatory. If you’re here in Australia for leisure-travel purposes, it isn’t mandatory but is highly recommended.
Any pre-existing medical conditions may require a more expensive health cover but it will ensure you have peace of mind on your travels. You will also need to break down what other features are important to you. You may wish to choose a OVHC option which includes dental cover or GP visits; bear in mind that cover which includes these options will be more expensive.
While it is important you get health cover which covers you comprehensively in the event of any medical issues or emergencies, it’s also vital you don’t stretch your finances beyond reason. Travelling can be expensive and you shouldn’t be paying overs for OVHC you won’t make the most of.
While some features may look good on paper, they can also be a significant waste of money if you won’t take advantage of them at all. When deciding on your OVHC policy, thoroughly consider all of the features and their worth to you.
Once you have decided on and purchased the best OVHC option for your situation, make sure you know its inclusions and exclusions back to front. In addition, always keep a copy of your policy on hand to ensure you have easy access to any queries or concerns whenever an issue arises. As your travelling situation, or perhaps personal situation changes while you’re in Australia, make sure to check and update your OVHC policy accordingly.
Some insurers will offer promos or specials for the beginning duration of your OVHC. These can include things like a free six weeks at the beginning of your OVHC. However, do make sure to understand the terms and conditions of these promotions or specials so it doesn’t end up costing you more in the long term.