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If you're planning a trip to Australia as a tourist, it's important to consider purchasing health insurance to protect yourself in case of an unexpected medical issue. As a tourist, you probably won't be covered by Australia's public health system, known as Medicare, so having adequate insurance can be essential for your peace of mind.
Explore the benefits of tourist health insurance here with Savvy and get a range of quotes from a panel of reputable insurance companies to compare online. You can get your Overseas Visitors Health Cover sorted out through us today.
What is tourist health insurance and how do I get it for my trip to Australia?
Tourist health insurance is designed to cover visitors to Australia for a range of medical services, including hospitalisation, emergency care and ambulance transport. Such insurance is commonly known as Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) and is available from a large number of health insurers in Australia.
Buying adequate OVHC is compulsory for anyone visiting Australia on a subclass 600 visa, which allows tourists to visit for up to 12 months, but not to work in the country. It can cover several different types of health insurance and a variety of basic medical expenses including:
- Hospital cover, which helps with the cost of treatment in a public hospital
- Ambulance cover, which covers the costs of both air and road emergency transport to hospital
- Medications that are part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Treatments included on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
This is the basic minimum health insurance you’ll require under the Australian Government’s 8501 visa condition. However, there are different levels of OVHC available, some of which can offer more comprehensive benefits which are usually only available with an extras health insurance policy.
You can compare health insurance policies which may be suitable for your needs as a tourist from our panel of health funds. All you need to do is fill out a simple online form providing information about yourself and the level of cover you want. From there, a specialist will contact you to discuss which health insurance may be best for your needs as a tourist and assist you in the process of obtaining coverage.
How do I compare the benefits offered by health insurance for tourists?
There are several areas to compare when you’re looking at tourist health insurance. Ask yourself these questions when comparing policies:
- Does the policy include coverage for ambulance transport, whether by air or road?
- Is there an excess payment required if you are hospitalized, and if so, what is the amount of the excess?
- Does the policy have a limit on the overall benefits that can be claimed?
- Does the policy cover the cost of visiting a general practitioner (GP)?
- Can the policy be used to cover additional medical expenses beyond hospitalisation, such as dental and optical services?
- What services are included or excluded in the extras cover?
- Is there a waiting period before you can make a claim for certain extras benefits?
- Does the policy have any provision for repatriation to your home country in case of severe illness or death?
These are some of the main comparison areas to think about, particularly when deciding if extras cover is worth including in your tourist health cover package, and which policy offers the best health insurance for your needs.
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?
Frequently asked questions about tourist health insurance for Australia
Helpful health insurance guides
Looking for health insurance to cover your condition or treatment?
Read one of our helpful guides on a range of different ailments and potential hospital or extras treatments to help you find out if they're covered.
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