Health Care in Australia

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Healthcare for 457 Visa Holders

In general, Business (Long Stay) visa holders (Subclass 457) are not eligible for Medicare benefits.

Condition 8501 of the visa application requires them to maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance while in Australia.

The level of cover is basically intended to provide a similar level of benefits as Medicare provides for permanent residents, with the addition of ambulence cover.

The Dept of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)1 specify the minimum level of coverage required, in their 'Health Insurance standard template letter'.

If you are in this visa class, you need to find a healthcare provider who can offer you cover that complies with Condition 8501 and they need to provide you with the Verification of Cover letter so you can send this to DIAC.

457 visa holders from countries with reciprocal agreements

457 visa holders may also be from a country with a reciprocal health care agreement (RHCA). Firstly, in order to satisfy condition 8501 and have their visa granted, they will probably need to take out a private health policy.

Once in Australia, they can obtain a 'Reciprocal Health Care' Medicare card. Being enrolled with Medicare is sufficient to comply with visa condition 85011, so they can apply to DIAC for an exemption.

According to the government website www.privatehealth.gov.au, for reciprocal health care recipients: 'in general, access is limited to care for immediate necessary medical treatment provided in the Australian public health system.' This suggests you will not receive the same treatment or benefits as a permanent resident, but we could not find any further clarification on this.

Medicare Levy Exemption

If you are not eligible for Medicare benefits, it seems reasonable that you should not pay the Medicare Levy through taxation, but an exemption is not granted automatically.

To obtain an exemption, you need to apply to Medicare3 using the Medicare Levy Exemption Certification form (3169).

Resources

1DIAC 457 Health Insurance FAQ.
2www.privatehealth.gov.au
3Dept of Human Services Medicare Exemptions