What Is Extras Cover For 457 Visa Holders?

Within Australia there are two component of Health Insurance:
1) Hospital Cover
2) Extras Cover

Hospital and Extras

Hospital Cover For 457 Visa Holders Explained

All 457 visa holders must meet condition 8501 which states that they must have adequate health insurance for the duration of their stay. This applies not only to themselves but any other person attached to the visa such as a partner or dependents.

Normal health insurance won’t meet condition 8501. Rather, a specialist policy that only a handful of Australian health funds offer can be selected. Our 457 health insurance comparison tables show the best value policies in Australia. Prior to applying for a 457 visa, you need to apply first for a policy with hospital cover. You will receive a letter from the health fund (normally within 24 hours) which you need to attach to your application as proof you have met this requirement.

Hospital cover will cover you when your sick or injured and require hospitalisation.
The top five most important features that a 457 visa health insurance policy may have include cover for:

  1. Hospital accommodation
  2. Hospital treatments (Doctors Fees in hospital)
  3. Emergency ambulance cover
  4. Repatriation for medical purposes
  5. GP services (only some policies offer this)

Hospital cover is also a way to avoid the medicare levy surcharge in Australia. This levy can be as high as 1.5% of your total income so for example, if you earn $150k it will be $2,250 which is more than double the cheapest 457 visa policy. It is due to this surcharge that no policy holder should consider moving away from hospital cover (even when becoming a permanent resident) without talking to an accountant first.

Overall, this is the most critical part of health insurance for 457 visa holders and its strongly recommended that all individuals, couples and families have this cover.

Extras Cover For 457 Visa Holders Explained

Most Australia’s have extras cover but this is often overlooked by 457 visa holders. This is because extras cover is not compulsory and many Australian health insurance companies don’t offer this cover type for most of their 457 health insurance polices.

What Does Extras Cover Include?

The most popular items covered with most extras cover are:

1) Dental
When you visit a dentist for a regular check-up or have treatment done you will receive a percentage back from your bill.
This can include major dental such as a tooth extraction but waiting periods may apply.

2) Optical
For those that need glasses, optical can cover the costs of seeing an optometrists and then the glasses your prescribed. This can include prescription sunglasses which are popular in Australia due the outdoor nature of the country. It’s worth noting there are annual limits when it comes to glasses so you may only be able to get one new pair subsidised each year depending on your policy.

3) Physiotherapy
If you need to see a physio you will not be covered by hospital cover unless it’s during a hospital stay. This element will cover (at least partially) your sessions which are critical for many people during their stay in Australia.

Optical and dental

What Does Extras Cover Cost?

Extras cover can be as low as an additional $26 a month to well over $100 depending on the policy you choose.

Generally a more expensive policy will provide you:
a) A higher percentage return when you make a claim. So for example you could receive 100% for a comprehensive oral examination each year for a more expensive policy.
b) Higher limits on claims for services such as optical. This may be critical for example if you need to see a physio several times during the year for any issues that need to be worked on.

Overall, its worth considering how much in the past (and the frequency) you have used these services to work out the right level for you.

Who Offers Extras Cover?

Frank Australia is the only health fund that doesn’t offer extras cover as part of their 457 visa health insurance.
Those that do offer extras cover can be categories into two groups:
1) Funds that offer you to mix and match your policy
Some funds such as HIF allow you to choose your hospital cover and then independently select the right extras cover for you. This can be a handy option  for those who may have very different requirements when it comes to the level of cover across the two policy types.

For example, an individual may want the highest level of hospital cover to ensure they receive premium treatment when sick or injured in a private hospital but may only require basic extras cover as they rarely claim in this area.
2) Funds that automatically combine extras to hospital cover
Other funds such as IMAN add extras cover automatically to their higher end policies. If considering the policies of these funds it’s critical to check if the level of cover you have selected will include these services and consider upgrading the policy if they don’t.

Who Should Have Extras Cover

Almost all Australian’s who have hospital cover have extras cover because it offers such good value to individuals, couples and families. If you visit the dentist at least once a year you should investigate adding extras cover to your 457 visa health insurance not only for peace of mind but because financially you may end up better off annually. Just make sure you understand the extras policy and don’t forget to make claims annually such as a new pair of prescription glasses.