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Subclass 457 – Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions – Visa Holders

Employer Sponsored Workers

Do subclass 457 visa holders need to have insurance?

If your subclass 457 visa was granted on or after 14 September 2009, you are responsible for health costs which are incurred in Australia by you and your accompanying family members.

From 14 September 2009 it is a requirement for visa grant that applicants have made adequate arrangements for health insurance for themselves and accompanying family members.

Subclass 457 visa holders are subject to visa condition 8501. Condition 8501 requires all visa holders, including accompanying family members, to maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia.

You are required to maintain an adequate level of insurance cover for the duration of your stay in Australia. This insurance must be at least as comprehensive as the minimum level of coverage required under the subclass 457 visa program. For the minimum level of coverage required, see Attachment A to the health insurance standard template letter.
See: Health insurance standard template letter (106KB RTF file)

Visa holders who are enrolled with Medicare under reciprocal health care arrangements will be considered as having met this requirement. There is more information below on reciprocal health care arrangements.

What do I need to provide to demonstrate that I have made adequate arrangements for insurance?

When you apply for a subclass 457 visa, you must provide evidence of having arranged an insurance policy that will cover you and your accompanying family members in Australia. This insurance must be at least as comprehensive as the minimum level of coverage required under the subclass 457 visa program. A number of insurance providers have products available that will meet this minimum level of coverage. You are able to choose a product which is right for you, as long as it meets the department’s requirements.

Evidence of insurance may be in the form of a letter or certificate from an insurance company or broker indicating that you and your accompanying family members will be covered by an insurance policy that is at least as comprehensive as the minimum level of coverage required under the subclass 457 visa program.

Insurance companies may wish to use the standard template letter. Providing this template, as completed by an insurance provider, is sufficient evidence that the insurance meets the requisite minimum level of coverage.
See: Health insurance standard template letter (106KB RTF file)

Evidence may also be in the form of a letter from your employer indicating that you and your accompanying family members will be covered by an insurance policy that is at least as comprehensive as the minimum level of coverage required under the subclass 457 visa program and providing details of the insurance provider and policy.

Family members applying separately from the main subclass 457 visa holder must produce evidence as per above, which indicates that the policy covers family members.

What happens if I do not have insurance?

Visa applications assessed on or after 14 September 2009 will not be granted if the applicant does not provide evidence that they have made adequate arrangements for insurance.

All visas granted on or after 14 September 2009 are subject to Condition 8501. This condition requires visa holders to maintain adequate arrangements for insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia.

Can I cancel my insurance while I am still a 457 visa holder?

All visas granted on or after 14 September 2009 are subject to Condition 8501. This condition requires visa holders to maintain adequate arrangements for insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia.

What happens if I do not comply with visa condition 8501?

Visa holders should be aware that departmental officers will use information provided by insurance companies to monitor compliance with Condition 8501.

If you do not comply with a visa condition, your visa may be cancelled. You may also jeopardise any future visa application you make. When you apply for a subsequent visa, the Department may request evidence that you maintained adequate insurance for the time you held a subclass 457 visa in compliance with visa condition 8501.

Can my sponsor pay for my insurance?

It is acceptable if your sponsor pays for the insurance as a part of your employment contract. There is no requirement that you pay for your insurance policy.

I am from a country with a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia. Do I also need insurance?

If you are from a country with a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, you may be eligible to access Medicare. For further information you should refer to the Medicare Australia website.
See: Medicare Australia – Visitors to Australia

Being enrolled with Medicare under reciprocal health care arrangements is sufficient to meet the health insurance requirement at visa grant and to comply with visa condition 8501.

You can only enrol with Medicare if you are in Australia. If you have enrolled with Medicare you should provide evidence that you have been issued with a Medicare card as part of your application.

If you are overseas, you must arrange adequate insurance for your initial period in Australia and provide evidence of this insurance as part of your application. You may be eligible to then enrol with Medicare once you are in Australia. Being enrolled with Medicare is sufficient to comply with visa condition 8501.

You should also be aware that once you have enrolled with Medicare, you need to contact the Australian Taxation Office to see if you will be subject to the Medicare Levy Surcharge. This might affect the type of health insurance policy you need to maintain while in Australia.
See: PrivateHealth.gov.au

What are reciprocal health care agreements?

Reciprocal health care agreements (RHCA) are agreements between the Australian Government and other governments to cover some medically necessary treatments for ill-health or injury which occur while you are in Australia and require treatment before you return home.

The Australian Government has RHCA with the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Malta, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand. New RHCA may be negotiated at any time.

For the latest list of countries and further information on RHCA, including what Medicare services are available under RHCA, you should refer to the Medicare Australia website.
See: Medicare Australia – Visitors to Australia

Condition 8501 applies to my visa. What if I incur health costs that are not covered by my health insurance?

You, as the subclass 457 visa holder, will be responsible for health costs incurred in Australia by you and your accompanying family members

Are there other health requirements I need to meet if I have arranged adequate health insurance?

Obtaining health insurance does not guarantee that your visa application will meet public interest criterion relating to health.

Where you have paid for your insurance policy, and your visa application is refused, it is your responsibility to seek a refund of the amount paid from your insurer. The Department has no involvement in the interaction between you and your chosen insurer.

Which insurance companies can provide the adequate cover?

There are a range of products available for subclass 457 visa holders. Insurance may be provided by an Australian-based or overseas based provider. You should contact insurance providers to find out if they have a product suitable for subclass 457 visa holders. Further information about private health insurers in Australia can be found on the Australian Government website.
See: PrivateHealth.gov.au

My visa was granted before 14 September 2009. Who is responsible for my health costs?

For subclass 457 visa holders whose visas were granted prior to 14 September 2009, sponsors retain ultimate responsibility for the cost of treatment administered in a public hospital, unless the expense has been paid under an insurance policy or a reciprocal health agreement between Australia and another country. Sponsors who fail to meet the relevant costs may be subject to administrative sanctions, such as being barred from using the program for a period or having their sponsorship cancelled. Other health costs remain the responsibility of you as the visa holder.

My visa was granted before 14 September 2009. If I change sponsors, is my new sponsor liable for certain health costs?

Yes. As your visa was granted prior to 14 September 2009, the liability for certain health costs transfers to your new sponsor. Sponsors who fail to meet the relevant costs may be subject to administrative sanctions, such as being barred from using the program for a period or having their sponsorship cancelled.

My visa was granted before 14 September 2009, but my family member has been added as a dependant after 14 September 2009. Who is responsible for health costs?

A dependent applicant who is granted a visa on or after 14 September 2009 in relation to a primary visa holder whose visa was granted before 14 September 2009 would have condition 8501 applied to their visa.

This effectively means that the sponsor would be liable for the health costs of the primary visa applicant, but not for the health costs of the dependent. The dependent would be required to maintain adequate health insurance.

For the latest list of countries and further information on RHCA, including what Medicare services are available under RHCA, you should refer to the Medicare Australia website.
See: Medicare Australia – Visitors to Australia

Last modified Wednesday 27 August 2014