If you are considering a holiday to the golden sands and iconic beaches of Australia or thinking of working in oz, then it's important to know a few key things about getting health care during your stay.
Some visas require visitors to take out health insurance as part of their conditions, with the Visa Subclass 457, among one of them.
As of September 2009, holders of the Visa Subclass 457 are required to have a "minimum level of health insurance" and maintain it for the length of their stay in Australia.
Overseas visitors coming to Australia who hold a temporary student visa may be required as a visa condition to take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
There are some special conditions for visitors (not students) from several countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Sweden, who have a reciprocal health care arrangement with Australia.
This may allow them to receive "immediate necessary" medical treatment in the public health system, but they aren't otherwise entitled to benefits.
The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) says that visitors should consider taking out OVHC, because if you require a stay in hospital or need to visit a doctor you could find yourself having to fork out a lot of money to cover the full cost of treatment.
When looking for private health cover there's a number of things you will want to take in consideration, the PHIO lists a few key points.
Check exclusions and restrictions
Make sure to look through the restrictions and exclusions of your policy, as some areas will be covered in full while others may only be partially or not covered at all.
Know about your waiting periods
Ensure that you are well informed of what the waiting periods are for your policy, with most insurers imposing a 12 month waiting period for cover on "pre-existing conditions", and some not covering them at all.
The PHIO states that because OVHC policies usually begin when you arrive in Australia, illnesses that develop while you are travelling to Australia are usually considered to be "pre-existing ailments".
Inform your health fund of changes immediately
If your Medicare eligibility or visa status changes, it's important that you let your health fund know as soon as possible.
Check with your fund that your policy is still suitable as you may be able to swap to a residents' policy.