Tourist Health Insurance Australia

Compare different types of health insurance for tourists visiting Australia through Savvy. 

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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We’ve partnered with Compare Club to bring you a range of health insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.

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

Why compare health insurance through Savvy?

Frequently asked questions about tourist health insurance for Australia

How much does private health insurance cover vs Medicare cover for foreigners in Australia?

This will depend on your citizenship. Australia currently has a reciprocal health care agreement (RHCA) with 11 countries. If you're a citizen of one of these countries who is temporarily visiting Australia, you can receive medically necessary treatment under Australia's public healthcare system, Medicare, on the same basis as Australian citizens. However, all other foreign visitors will require private health insurance to cover them for a subclass 600 tourist visa. The countries that Australia has a RHCA with are: 

  • New Zealand 
  • United Kingdom 
  • Ireland 
  • Sweden 
  • The Netherlands 
  • Finland 
  • Italy 
  • Malta 
  • Norway 
  • Belgium
  • Slovenia 
Is it worth having private health insurance if I’m visiting Australia as a tourist?

It may be compulsory under your visa conditions. If you're intending to visit Australia on a subclass 600 tourist visa and your country of birth doesn’t have a reciprocal health agreement with Australia, it's a condition of your visa that you do take out private health insurance. 

Is travel insurance sufficient for my visit to Australia, or do I need tourist health insurance?

You'll need Overseas Visitors Health Cover if you intend to stay in Australia as a tourist for any length of time under a subclass 600 tourist visa. If this is the case, your standard travel insurance may not adequately cover you.  

Is there health insurance available to cover Aussies living abroad?

There's another type of cover known as expat health insurance which is offered by some insurers in the market. This can assist Aussies who intend to live overseas for an extended period to cover the cost of certain health care treatments.  

Will this insurance cover my parents visiting as tourists on a 870 visa?

Yes, OVHC health cover is suitable for parents who may be visiting Australia for an extended length of time under a Sponsored Parent (subclass 870) visa

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Savvy’s comparison service is provided by Compare Club. Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers and does not compare all products in the market.

Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

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