As a 457 visa holder, you are required to hold adequate health insurance cover or Medicare subscription (under Australia’s reciprocal health care agreement) for the duration of your stay in Australia. This requirement also applies to your family members who hold dependent 457 visas. This is a condition on your visa (Condition 8501) and you are obligated to ensure that you comply with this condition.
When you lodge your 457 visa application, you will need to provide DIAC with evidence of your health insurance coverage or Medicare subscription.
If you’re complying with this condition by obtaining adequate health insurance, then you need to ensure that your insurance policy covers you for the duration your stay in Australia as a 457 visa holder. Furthermore, all items listed in Attachment A must be covered under your policy.
If you breach this condition by not having adequate health insurance cover or Medicare subscription, then this can be a basis for DIAC to cancel your visa.
Irish passport holders
If you hold a passport from the Republic of Ireland, then you are automatically entitled to Medicare under the Australia’s reciprocal health care agreement. This will provide you with sufficient health coverage and you won’t need to obtain health insurance (or submit evidence of health insurance coverage with your application). Providing a copy of your passport is sufficient evidence of your Medicare entitlements.
Reciprocal health care agreement & Travel insurance
If you hold a passport from a country that has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia (United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Malta and Italy), then you are entitled to enrol with Medicare. Once you have obtained Medicare subscription, the coverage under this will be sufficient to satisfy your obligations under Condition 8501.
The issue is that you can only enrol with Medicare once you have arrived in Australia. You need to attend a Department of Human Services office to enrol with Medicare. Because you need to have sufficient health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay in Australia as a 457 visa holder, you still need some type of insurance to cover the period between your arrival and when you enrol with Medicare. Typically, DIAC will accept evidence of travel insurance to cover this period. However, you need to ensure that your travel insurance provides with your sufficient coverage (i.e. all items in Attachment A are covered).
Note: For Italian and Maltese passport holders, you are only eligible for a reciprocal Medicare card for the first six months of your stay in Australia. Even if you are enrolled with Medicare, you will need to make adequate arrangements for health insurance once you cease to be eligible for a reciprocal Medicare card.
Insurance provided by an overseas provider
Remember, the obligation is on you to ensure that the insurance that you hold is sufficient.
If you already have insurance with an overseas insurance provider, you can contact them and ask whether your policy will cover you during your time in Australia and whether all items listed in Attachment A are covered.
In my experience, most overseas insurance providers either don’t know or can’t confirm for certain whether your insurance policy is sufficient.
Purchasing insurance with an Australian insurance provider
If you want to be safe, you can purchase insurance from an Australian insurance provider. Most large health insurance providers have specific plans for 457 visa holders (and accompanying dependents).
I do not have any association with the below listed companies, and I will not receive any commission if you decide to purchase insurance from them. The below list is just a starting point for those that need to purchase insurance.
A comparison site that lists all the 457 visa health funds can be viewed at: www.457visacompared.com.au
This comparison site allows users to compare 457 visa health insurance policies for individuals, couples and families: