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Health insurance

As a new arrival in Australia it’s important to ensure that you have the right health insurance to cover you and your family.  Government and private organisations both provide healthcare services in Australia.


Medicare is Australia’s national healthcare system.  It provides free treatment in public hospitals as public patients and free or subsidised treatments by doctors (including specialists). You are eligible for medicare if you reside in Australia and hold a permanent visa, hold New Zealand citizenship, have applied for a permanent visa or are a visitor under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA). RHCA provide residents of certain countries access to Medicare benefits when visiting or working in Australia. The level of Medicare cover and the period for which you receive it varies and depends on which country you are from.  Check out if you have entitlements and what they are.

Short Term Visitors

If you’re visiting on holiday we recommend that you arrange travel health insurance with your local provider.  If you do forget to arrange your travel insurance before you arrive there are a number of providers that can help you with Overseas Visitor Cover.

Studying in Australia

In most cases it is a requirement of a student’s visa to have health cover in place as part of your course acceptance.  In many cases your study institution will be able to help you with this however you may also decide to buy health insurance directly from an Australian Health provider.  For full details about health insurance requirements visit

Working in Australia

Most healthcare providers provide insurance options for working holiday makers and those employees being sponsored into Australia for example on a 457 visa.

Health insurance for 457 visas

When you’re applying for a 457 Temporary Business visa to Australia, you must also have health insurance for yourself and your family (dependants), if any. The type of health cover depends on your age and where you’ll be staying. When you’re applying for the visa, you must:

  • Provide proof that you’ve purchased a health insurance cover that meets the minimum health insurance requirements as set out by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
  • Maintain adequate health insurance arrangements for yourself and any dependants travelling with you for the entire duration of your stay in Australia

Under new laws introduced in 2009, applicants won’t be granted a 457 visa without health insurance. This insurance needs to cover your accompanying family as well. Here are a few health policy checks in place before you apply for a 457 visa:

  • The health insurance must be as comprehensive as the minimum level of coverage required under the 457 visa program
  • Ask your insurer for the necessary documentation - a letter or certificate which states details of the health policy
  • You must fulfil Condition 8501 to be granted a 457 visa which requires you to maintain adequate health cover for you and your dependants during your stay in Australia
  • Family members applying separately from the primary 457 visa applicant must produce evidence which indicates that the policy covers them all
  • If you cancel your health policy during your stay or fail to comply with Condition 8501, your visa can be cancelled
  • Your sponsor may pay for the health insurance as a part of your employment contract. You are not compelled to pay for your health insurance personally

You may be able to apply to Immigration for an exemption from the 457 health insurance visa requirements if you are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement and you have enrolled in Medicare, the Australian public health care system. We recommend you consult immigration or your visa consultant. Some of the largest Health Insurance Providers in Australia include:






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