Frequently Asked Questions


Tax time

Will you send me a tax statement at the end of the Australian financial year?
No. Overseas Visitors Health Cover is not a Complying Health Insurance Product (CHIP) for tax purposes. That’s why we don’t need to issue you with a tax statement. Your Overseas Visitors Health Cover is a product that ensures you meet condition 8501 which is: ‘Maintain Health Insurance' – for the duration of your Worker Visa.
What if I am a high-income earner in Australia on a Visitor’s Visa?
If you earn a high income and you require Private Health Insurance cover to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS), you’ll need to purchase a Reciprocal Health Cover, in addition to your Overseas Visitors Health Cover.
Can I call CBHS International for more information and details on my taxation return?
Unfortunately, no. We are not qualified to provide any further assistance with your tax enquiries. For more details on taxation, please contact The Australian Taxation Office for help.

The 'Who'?

Who is covered under an Overseas Visitors Health Cover policy?

This will depend on the type of cover you buy. Your certificate will tell you what cover you’ve bought.

  • Single: cover for just you
  • Couple: cover for you and your spouse or de facto partner
  • Family: cover for you, your spouse or de facto partner, and your dependent children under the age of 18 who are living with you in Australia
  • Sole Parent: cover for you and your dependent children under the age of 18 who are living with you in Australia

The 'What'?

What is the Medicare Levi Surcharge
Most Australian taxpayers pay an annual Medicare Levy on their taxable income each year. This helps fund Medicare, the public healthcare system that provides free or subsidised cover for certain healthcare services to Australian citizens and permanent residents. On top of this, if you do not have private health insurance you may be charged the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) of between 1%-1.5% if you earn above a certain income. The base income threshold (under which you are not liable to pay the MLS) is $90,000 for singles and $180,000 for families.
What happens after I join?
It’s important that you contact us when you arrive in Australia so we can activate your cover, update your local contact details and send your membership card/s.
What is Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC)?
What is the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate?
Many Australians who take out Private Health Insurance cover can claim a rebate to help contribute towards the cost of their premiums. The rebate is income tested and applies to domestic hospital and ancillary (Extras) products. The rebate does not apply to OVHC. You could be eligible for the rebate if you have Medicare and an Australian domestic product such as Extras. For more information about the Australian Government Private Health Insurance rebate you can visit www.privatehealth.gov.au or the Australian Taxation Office at www.ato.gov.au
What is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Sceme?

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is an Australian Government program that subsidises some prescription medicines to make them more affordable for residents. Generally, overseas visitors to Australia are not eligible for subsidised prescription medication under the PBS. Overseas visitors from countries with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) are also eligible to access the PBS.

For members who hold Overseas Worker Mid Hospital and Medical or Overseas Worker Top Hospital and Medical cover, there is a benefit. For selected pharmaceutical items (including discharge medication), you will receive a benefit up to $75, calculated as follows: the receipted cost of the prescription less a co-payment equivalent to the current prescribed Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment for general patients.

What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is an illness or medical condition, the signs or symptoms of which existed at any time in the period of six months before the person became insured under an OSHC or OVHC policy. This is determined by a medical advisor appointed by CBHS International Health and takes into consideration any information provided by the member’s Health Care Provider.
What are Reciprocal Health Care Agreements?

Australia has RHCAs with the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Slovenia
  • Republic of Ireland

Residents from these countries are entitled to Reciprocal Medicare for medically necessary treatment while in Australia.

What are exclusions?

Exclusions are services that are not covered under your policy. You can seek services for the exclusions but CBHS International Health will not pay any benefits. Examples of exclusions under our health cover are:

  • Non-admitted hospital psychiatric services
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Stem cell, bone marrow and organ transplant
  • Other services for which a Medicare benefit is not payable.
What's a gap fee?
You’ll have to pay a gap fee if the amount the medical provider charges is more than the benefit you’re entitled to under your cover. You’ll need to pay the gap fee yourself – you won’t be able to claim that amount. For example, if you have a standard consultation with a doctor and charged the MBS fee of $37.05, your policy would pay 100% and you would have no gap. If the doctor charged $50 then your policy would pay $37.05 (equal to the MBS benefit) and you would have to pay $12.95 which is the ‘gap’ between the benefit your policy pays and the cost of the service.
What are waiting periods?

Sometimes you must wait for a period of time before you’re able to claim benefits for services under your CBHS International Health cover – this is called a waiting period. The following waiting periods apply to our policies:

  • Accidents, emergency ambulance transport: 1 day
  • All other treatments (including pre-existing conditions relating to hospital psychiatric services, rehabilitation and palliative care): 2 months
  • Product upgrades – waiting periods must be served for services that were not available on your previous product: 2 months for outpatient services (not including pregnancy related services) and 12 months for pre-existing medical conditions, pregnancy, birth and terminations.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions: 12 months
  • Pregnancy-related services, including miscarriage and termination: 12 months 
What is Medicare, the public healthcare system?

The public healthcare system is run by the government and is called Medicare. Medicare covers things such as:

  • Treatment by a doctor or general practitioner (also called GPs)
  • Treatment by a specialist
  • Prescription medication
  • Treatment in a public hospital

If you are entitled to Medicare and have a Medicare card you will receive benefit to help pay for these services. If you are not entitled to Medicare, then your OVHC can help pay for these services.

What is hospital outpatient medical treatment?

These are medical services you receive in the emergency department of a hospital, but you have not been formally admitted to hospital.

For example, if you consulted with a hospital doctor, had a blood test or x-ray while you were in the emergency department of a hospital, but had not been formally admitted into hospital, this is known as outpatient services.

The formal hospital admission process usually includes you being given a hospital wristband and allocated a hospital bed in a hospital ward (rather than the emergency department). This only happens when you’ve been assessed and meet certain criteria. If you meet the hospital criteria for admission, it is because your doctor has decided you need to stay in hospital (at least overnight) - or you've had pre-planned day surgery/procedure (such as a colonoscopy) and need to be admitted for inpatient care.

If you have not been formally admitted to hospital for an overnight stay when you went to the Hospital emergency department or attended day surgery, your medical treatment you received is outpatient services.

What is in-hospital medical treatment?

This is medical treatment you receive once you have been formally admitted to hospital.

The formal hospital admission process usually includes you being given a hospital wristband and allocated a hospital bed in a hospital ward (rather than the emergency department). This only happens when you’ve been assessed and meet certain criteria. If you meet the hospital criteria for admission, it is because your doctor has decided you need to stay in hospital (at least overnight) - or you've had pre-planned day surgery/procedure (such as a colonoscopy) and need to be admitted for inpatient care.

Inpatient services include pre-planned hospital admissions for day surgery or a medical procedure (for example colonoscopy). This is where you have day surgery or a medical procedure done, then later the same day you go home. Day surgery or medical procedures can be considered inpatient medical treatment if you need inpatient care, even if you don't need to stay overnight at the hospital.

What are eligible worker visa subclasses?

Your working holiday or holiday visa in Australia may come with a requirement to hold OVHC.

Our cover is compliant for the following visas:

  • 482 (temporary skill shortage)
  • 485 (temporary graduate)
  • 457 (temporary work – skilled)
  • 403 (temporary work – international relations)
  • 408 (temporary activity)
  • 407 (training visa)
  • 476 (skilled – recognised graduate)
  • 590 (student guardian)
  • 489 (skilled regional)
  • 400 (temporary work short stay specialist)
  • 010 (bridging Visa A)
  • 020 (bridging Visa B)
  • 030 (bridging Visa C).
What you need to know before applying for single cover

Who is the primary visa holder?

The primary visa holder is the person who applied for and has been granted an eligible worker visa. The primary visa holder will be the member insured and the Policy Holder.

Who is the secondary visa holder?

A secondary visa holder is the spouse, de facto partner, or dependent child of the primary visa holder. A secondary visa holder is not eligible for single cover. 

Who is eligible for single cover?

Only primary visa holders without a spouse, de facto or dependent child are eligible for single cover. When do I need couple, family, or sole parent cover?

If you are the primary visa holder and you have secondary visa holders coming to Australia with you, then you will need a couple, family, or sole parent cover. Read the OVHC policy guide to find out more.

If you're not eligible to hold single cover or have an ineligible visa subclass for the product you’ve chosen, no benefits or claims will be paid. If you need more information, please contact us 1300 174 537 or email us at ovhc@cbhscorp.com.au. We’ll be happy to help.

The 'When'?

When will I receive my visa compliance letter?
Once you’ve bought your cover, an email with your compliance letter will be immediately sent to you. Please make sure you provide a valid email address to avoid delays. If you have not received your letter, contact CBHS International Health at ovhc@cbhscorp.com.au.
When does my OVHC start?
Your policy starts when you arrive in Australia and have contacted CBHS International Health to activate your policy. It’s important that you contact us when you arrive or when your new visa starts so that we can activate your cover. Note that you're not covered for treatment outside of Australia.

The 'Why'?

Why do overseas visitors need Overseas Visitors Health Cover in Australia?

Overseas workers and visitors are generally not eligible for Medicare; the public health system for Australian residents and citizens. If you need medical attention while you’re in Australia and you don’t have health cover, it can be very expensive, to be treated in either the public or the private healthcare system.

Accidents happen and people get sick. Your CBHS International Health cover makes sure you’re covered if you have an accident or illness while you’re in Australia. Make sure you understand what your chosen policy covers you for.

 

What is Medicare?

Medicare is the Australian Government’s public healthcare system. Medicare covers things such as:

  • Treatment by a doctor or general practitioner (also called GPs)
  • Treatment by a specialist
  • Certain prescription medication
  • Treatment in a public hospital

If you're entitled to Medicare and have a Medicare card, you will receive benefits to help pay for these services. If you're not entitled to Medicare, then your OVHC can help pay for these services.

Why do I need OVHC?

As most overseas visitors or workers are not eligible for Medicare (our publicly funded healthcare for residents and citizens), getting an appropriate level of health cover is a requirement for a range of work and visitors visas. Some visa subclasses must purchase and provide proof of acceptable OVHC when applying for their visa and maintain cover for the entire time they are in Australia.

Depending on the type of cover you buy, your OVHC will keep you protected against some of the costs of medical treatment if you get sick or have an accident. Some treatments can cost thousands of dollars!

Why do I need to have an eligible visa subclass for my chosen product?

Our OVHC products are specifically designed to provide adequate health insurance for international visitors working in Australia. This is known as visa subject condition 8501.

Our OVHC products are not designed for other types of visa subclasses and therefore may not suit your health cover needs.

Only certain visa subclasses are required to hold adequate health insurance. To confirm which visas

these are, go to: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/supporting/files/visas-subject-condition-8501.pdf

The 'How'?

How does private healthcare fit into the health system for overseas visitors?
The private healthcare system complements the public healthcare system, or if you’re not eligible for Medicare, it replaces it. CBHS International Health provides OVHC to overseas workers and visitors to help with the cost of services provided in the private healthcare system. This includes emergency ambulance trips and a range of treatments in a private hospital.
How does your cover work for in-hospital services?

When you’re treated in hospital by a doctor, surgeon or anaesthetist, you will be charged a fee. If the practitioner charges you the MBS fee (and the service is included in your health cover) you will be covered for the service. If they choose to charge above the MBS fee, then you will have to pay the difference.

Before you go to hospital, you should ask your doctor and the hospital if there will be any additional costs that might be higher than those covered by your OVHC. It is also highly recommended that you contact us before you go to hospital so that we can inform you if there are any exclusions, restrictions or limits on the treatment you're seeking.

How can I contact CBHS International Health from outside Australia?

You can contact us:

Overseas student: oshc@cbhscorp.com.au

Overseas worker or visitor: ovhc@cbhscorp.com.au

Or you can call us from overseas on (+61) 2 8604 3537.

How do I pay for my Overseas Visitors Health Cover

Your OVHC needs to be paid in advance, and stay in advance at all times. You can pay up to 24 months’ premium in advance. If you need more than 24 months cover, please contact us on 1300 174 537 or ovhc@cbhscorp.com.au

Once you arrive in Australia there are two ways you can pay your premium:

  • Credit card payment
    We accept Visa and Mastercard
  • Direct debit
    A direct debit is an arrangement from you to your bank or other financial institution to allow CBHS International Health to collect your health cover premiums (payments) from your account on the date that your premium is payable.

The date will depend on the payment frequency (monthly, quarterly, yearly) you selected when you arranged for your OVHC.

Additional FAQ's

Do I need to provide CBHS International with any information if my visa is refused or cancelled to cancel the policy?
Yes. If your visa application is refused or cancelled, you will need to provide CBHS International Health with a copy of any correspondence you receive from the Department of Home Affairs (previously known as Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)) refusing or cancelling your visa. CBHS International Health may be required to report policy cancellation to the Department of Home Affairs.
Will you need to pay the Medicare Levi Surcharge?
If you come from a country that has a RHCA with Australia, and your taxable income reaches the MLS threshold, then you may have to pay the MLS. This could mean that you will need to pay an additional 1% - 1.5% in tax unless you have appropriate private hospital cover. To find out more about the MLS and tax, you should seek independent tax advice or visit the Australian Taxation Office at www.ato.gov.au
Can you give me some links to more information?
If my visa has been refused or cancelled or I withdraw or cancel my application, will my premium payment be refunded?

If you have taken out your OVHC cover prior to your arrival in Australia, and paid one month’s premium, CBHS International Health may apply an administration fee equal to one month’s premium contribution.

If you have paid more than one month’s premium, CBHS International Health will retain an administration fee equal to one month’s premium contribution and will refund the balance of the premium paid.

If you are already in Australia and withdraw or cancel the policy within 30 days of the start date of the policy, CBHS International Health will retain an administration fee equal to one month’s premium contribution.

Do I still need health insurance if I have access to reciprocal Medicare benefits?

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) vary from country to country, so it’s important to understand what you are and aren’t covered for before deciding on health insurance. Even if you’re entitled to reciprocal benefits, Medicare does not cover you for everything and without health insurance you will need to pay for these services. The list below gives examples of services that are NOT covered under RHCA.

  • Ambulance
  • Dental care
  • Elective treatment
  • Funerals
  • Medical evacuation to your home country
  • Paramedical services, for example blood tests
  • Treatment and accommodation in private hospitals, or as a private patient in a public hospital
  • Treatment that is not immediately necessary.
Issuing Refunds

If we do not have your bank account details on file, we will attempt to contact you by email twice over a period of 60 days to request your bank account details. If we do not receive a response from you within 60 days, we will hold the amount of the refund (less an administration fee), pending contact from you. We'll keep your details on file for seven years after cancelling your membership, and you may contact us to claim your refund at any point during this time.

  • OVHC administration fee is equal to one calendar months' premium (AUD).
Can I receive a refund by foreign transfer?

If you don’t have an Australian bank account, we can process the refund via foreign transfer less the bank’s foreign transaction fee of $37.00 (AUD). If the refund amount due is less than $50 (AUD), foreign transfer is not an option. In this case, CBHS International will apply the refund as an administration fee.

    • OVHC administration fee is equal to one calendar months' premium (AUD).