Health Insurance Pitfalls for Australian Visa Holders

Here’s some great advice for immigrants planning to move to Australia’s glistening shores. There are many important jobs to tick off your list. Yes, work before play. Get through all the pesky paperwork, so you won’t have any issues with Visas and other humdrum jobs. An important item on your list should be health insurance.


I know, I know. All you want to do is head to the beach, and feel the warm all-encompassing sun on your face. So organising health insurance is the furthest thought from your mind. Not to worry. You’re in the Savings Room, where I try to make boring things fun. I’ll make this as painless as I can.

This is the first important thing to know:

The majority of temporary visa holders are not qualified for Medicare. This means, if you get sick, you will be up for the costs of any healthcare while in Australia.

Visa Types

If you are seeking an Australian visa, you will find that you’ll need health insurance first. This is mandatory, regardless of visa types. Consider this important point if you’re visiting Australia to work on a short or long term basis.

These are the most popular visa types foreigners apply for:

  • Temporary Shortage of Skills (TSS)
  • Temporary Graduate
  • Temporary Activity
  • Temporary Work

These visas have completely different purposes. You will be not be able to secure these visas without proper healthcover from an insurance company.

Insurance for Visa

Also, Australian visa applicants must buy an adequate level of health cover.
For example, working visa health insurance plans demand the following:

  • Hospital care
  • In-patient medical services
  • Ambulance emergencies

Further, this kind of insurance usually doesn’t cover extras. For example, dental, physiotherapy or optical services aren’t included. If you think you may need these services, purchase a higher level plan or take out extras cover as well.


Student visasalso require health cover. This type of cover is otherwise known as Overseas Student Health Cover. This is mandatory in Australia, but students studying in other countries may not need it. These countries include Sweden, Belgium and Norway.

Price of Health Cover

Australia’s public health system, Medicare, is mainly funded through taxation. Usually, the cost for Medicare is 2% of one’s taxable income. You will pay a reduced rate if you earn less than $21,655 AUD or as a senior, less than $34,244 AUD. In case you don’t have private insurance and earn more than $90,000 AUD, you will have to pay the MLS. This is the Medicare Levy Surcharge.


Temporary visa holders will need to get private health cover. The average cost for hospital insurance is around $2,000 AUD with extras at around $900 AUD per year. The final cost of your health cover will depend on which services you choose and where you live.


The approximate price for one month of the Overseas Student Health Cover is around $40 AUD. So, for a course that will last one year, a student will need to pay for the health cover around AU$500.

Common Mistakes

Getting the right health cover is a complicated and exhausting process. Often, people regret their first insurance choice. They become overwhelmed and don’t shop around enough.


As a future visa applicant, try to leave enough time to research your options well.

Make sure to:

  1. Look for health insurance well before applying
  2. Do this on time so you won’t lose your chance to get the visa
  3. Make sure your chosen health cover includes all services you may need

For example, if you visit the dentist a lot now, be sure to include dental in your Australian plan. Dental expenses are high in Australia if you don’t plan ahead.

Final Thoughts

Starting life in a foreign country is never easy as it takes time to adapt. Knowing that you’re covered in case of an unexpected event is reassuring. Relax and avoid healthcare pitfalls so you can enjoy your time in the Aussie sunshine.