More things to know about OVHC

What is Overseas Visitors Health Cover?

Overseas Visitors Health Cover is private health insurance specially designed for international visitors willing to travel or work in Australia for a short time period on a temporary visa.

OVHC may help you with the cost of:

  • hospital expenses – overnight or same day accommodation
  • medical treatment when you're in hospital
  • emergency ambulance transport and on the spot treatment
  • doctor (GP & Specialists) consultation
  • medical services like X-Rays and Blood Reports
  • out of hospital pharmacy

Why Purchase Overseas Visitor Health Cover?

Medical treatments in Australia can get very expensive if you do not have an adequate OVHC and you could face significant medical bills if it happens to you to receive medical treatment while you are in Australia.

With certain visas, it has a condition (e.g. 8501) that requires you to maintain an adequate health cover while you are staying in Australia. 

Although it is not the condition on your visa, but it is highly recommended that you get Overseas Visitors Health Cover for the entire duration of your stay in Australia, having purchased OVHC gives peace of mind that you are covered if something unexpected happens to you.

What is Covered and not covered?

It is essential to know that what is not covered in your Overseas Visitor Health Cover as inclusions and exclusions varies between OVHC policies. Also be advised that excess, waiting period and other benefits also vary between OVHC policies.

Our comparison shows typical policy inclusion and exclusions of different OVHC Policies. It is highly recommended for you to go through the PDS (product disclosure statement) of policy before purchasing any policy from us. Information provided is general only and does not reflect your personal circumstances.

What is Visa Condition 8501?

Check on your visa letter for visa condition 8501 as If you have visa condition 8501 on your visa then it means that you must maintain adequate arrangement of health insurance during your stay in Australia.

Check with health funds about their policy compliance with visa condition 8501 as not all OVHC policies are in compliance with visa condition 8501.

What is Pre Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is any condition, ailment or illness that you had signs or symptoms of during the six months before you joined or upgraded to a higher level of cover with health fund. It is not necessary that you or yourdoctor knew about what your condition was or thatthe condition had been diagnosed.If you knew you weren’t well, or had signs of acondition that a doctor would have detected during the six months priorto joining or upgrading, then the conditionwould be classed as pre-existing.

There are waiting periods for pre-existing condition and generally you have to serve 12 month waiting period before you can claim any benefits on a pre-existing condition. In General health funds appoints or approves a doctor to decide if your medical condition was pre-existing or not, not you or your treating doctor. Health fund appointed or approved doctor has to consult with your treating doctor about your health condition before giving their decision but not bound to agree with your treating doctor.

What is Waiting Period?

A waiting period is the time that you have to serve with any health fund before you would be able to claim any benefits. If you receive a service or treatment during waiting period then you are not eligible to receive the benefits from the health fund. All health funds have different waiting periods apply to different services or treatment and they vary with different policies.

When switching health funds, you may be eligible to have waiting period honoured with your new cover if you have served some waiting periods with your previous health funds, check with your health funds about switching health funds.

Most Overseas Visitor Health Cover policy has waiting period for:

  • psychiatric and rehabilitation is 2 months
  • pre-existing conditions, ailments or illnesses, pregnancy related services is 12 months

It is highly recommended that you check and make sure that you have understood all applicable waiting periods to your policy.

What is MBS?

MBS is known as Medicare Benefits Schedule fee set by Australian Government. Normally health funds refers to percentage of (%) MBS coverage against medical services e.g. health fund covers 100% of MBS fee for GP service means health fund will cover 100% cost of your GP visit unless your GP charges you above MBS and in that case you have to pay the difference from your pocket.

Example: Your health fund covers 100% of MBS for GP Service. You visit a GP and your GP charges you $100, GP visit is $50 as per MBS means your GP charges above MBS. Your health fund will reimburse as per MBS and that is $50 and remaining $50 goes out of your pocket.

Ambulance Services

It is important to check and understand the ambulance cover provides by your overseas visitor health cover.

Ambulance cover provided in Australia covers:

  • emergency ambulance service
  • non-emergency ambulance service
  • on-the-spot treatment

Emergency ambulance service means ambulance transportation when medically necessary for admission to hospital. Non-emergency ambulance service means transportation from hospital to your home, to nursing home or to another hospital. Whether the transportation was believed anemergency or not is generally determined by the paramedic.

Ambulance cover varies between different health funds and between different policies hence check the ambulance cover with your policy.

How can I purchase Overseas Visitors Health Cover?

We will need simple information like cover for, visa subclass and date of birth, based on you selected criteria we provide you with the options for suitable Overseas Visitor Health Cover. Our comparison will show you typical policy inclusions and facilitate to access to the policy documents for you to refer to before making a decision to purchase the policy. You can contact us at any time in this process with any number of queries and we will be happy to assist you with your inquiry.

Once you have decided right policy and want to proceed with the purchase, click on the link “Buy Now” which will then take you to the health funds website and your online policy purchase will get process on health funds website. Once purchase is completed then certificate of insurance will be issues to your nominated email address.

It is best to have your travel dates sorted before you organise Overseas Visitor Health Cover. If you are not sure with your travel dates, you still could purchase Overseas Visitors Health Cover with tentative dates and you can change the policy start date once you have arrived to Australia by contacting your health fund or we can organise that for you. Most health funds will require evidence of your arrival date e.g. aircraft boarding pass and or your passport.

You can purchase OVHC policy for below:

  • Single – covering only overseas visitor.
  • Couple – covering the overseas visitor and either one adult spouse or recognised de facto partner or one or more children or step-children under the age of 18 years who are not married.
  • Family – covering the overseas visitor and more than one dependant, which can only include one adult spouse or recognised de facto partner and one or more dependent children.

How can you claim benefits?

If you are attending participating providers then you just have to swipe your membership card or provide your membership number and your health funds will pay benefits to the provider, otherwise you can pay the fees and make a claim with your health fund.

See below normal process to make a claim:

  • contact your health fund and obtain a claim form (may be able to download from their website)
  • complete the claim form in full (signed and dated) with  OVHC policy number
  • attach all your receipts to the claim form
  • email or post the claim form to health fund

It is important that you keep a copy of all your invoices and receipts. There may be other better ways of claim available with your health fund so it is always best to check before lodging any claim.

All claims must be lodged with your health fund within 2 years of when you received the service or treatment.

How to Renew your Overseas Visitor Cover?

You can renew your Overseas Visitor Health Cover by contacting your health fund provider or contact us and we will organise that for you.

Switching OVHC between different Health Funds

You can switch your OVHC Policy with different health funds at any time. You need to contact your previous health fund to notify of switching, first obtain the cancellation form either by calling them or from their website, fill it up and supply to your previous health fund (you may need to provide new policy document as a proof of purchase). You will be refunded with any balance premium as per health fund policy. Once received the cancellation form, simply provide to your new health fund. With some health funds, you only have to provide your previous OVHC details at the time of purchase and they will organise the switching process. Please note that following correct switching process, you will not be losing on any waiting periods you have already served (always contact your health funds to understand the switching process).