When applying for many visas to come to Australia, it is a requirement that you have in place private medical insurance.
This is especially true of employer-sponsored temporary visas such as Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482), Temporary Work (Short Stay) Activity visa (Subclass 400), or Training Visa (subclass 407) in addition to a Student Visa (subclass 500).
The Department of Home Affairs requires you to have at least a basic cover when you arrive in Australia to cover emergency ambulance, hospital treatment, funeral and repatriation costs amongst others, but this may not include dental or GP and specialist consultations. Therefore it is essential to know what you are covered for.
It should also be noted that it is a condition of your visa that you maintain this, and failure to continue with your cover can result in visa cancellation.
Employers who are interested to ensure their temporary staff are covered may consider taking out a corporate plan to ensure continuity of cover. This helps to reduce business risk.
Reciprocal Health Agreements
Meanwhile, there are a number of countries that enjoy reciprocal agreements with the Australian government. If you are a citizen from one of these countries, you may receive immediate care for illness or injury from Medicare.
This is especially relevant for Temporary visa holders such as Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
These countries include: Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom
As great as this sounds, there are several conditions where you are not covered.
For example, if you’re a student from Finland, Malta, Germany or Ireland, or on a retirement visa, you may not be covered. Also, if you come from New Zealand or Ireland, you won’t be covered for out of hospital medical expenses, like GP and specialist visits. This raises the question.
Are benefits provided under RHCA sufficient?
Whilst the Department Home Affairs considers benefits provided by the reciprocal agreements provisions adequate for migrants to Australia, the Australian Health System is a mixture of both public and private sector health services with a range of funding.
Government Incentives and penalties that affect sponsored employees from Reciprocal Health Care Agreement countries
Access to Medicare (the Australian public health system) comes with certain conditions. There are a number of Federal Government legislative mechanisms in place affecting all Australian citizens and these will also affect sponsored employees in Australia because of their limited access to Medicare. These tax penalties are:
1. The Medicare Levy
2. The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS)
Migrant health insurance in Australia: Things to consider
When considering if you need health insurance in Australia as a migrant, you should always consider your visa conditions, as, without access to health cover, it is unlikely that you will be granted a visa.
On the other hand, even if covered under a reciprocal agreement, it will not provide ambulance services cover, repatriation costs if you become seriously ill, optical, dental, or other treatments that are not deemed clinically necessary.
Given the complexities of being covered in Australia, it is essential that everyone checks what kind of insurance they qualify for before they visit.
Information in this blog has been provided by Berry Treffers from HICA Insurance Brokers PTY LTD (Any technical questions or information about corporate plans, please contact Berry.Treffers@hica.com.au).
If you have any questions or concerns as to how these may affect you, please feel free to contact me,
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482) Registered Migration Agent: Graham Copson (MARN 1575606)
Mob 0417 083 231, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Your Migration Partner”