Overseas CoverExplained

We want to make choosing and using your cover as simple as possible. Here’s how it works.

Overseas Visitors Cover is private health insurance for people who’ll be living in Australia for a period of time on a visitor visa.

Some visas require you to have private health insurance while you’re visiting Australia. But even if you don’t have to, it’s recommended that you get Overseas Visitors Cover so you can easily access the health care services you may need, especially if you’re from a country which doesn’t have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia. This is because paying for medical treatment yourself can be very expensive.

Depending on the level of cover you choose, your HCF insurance can cover you when you’re in hospital and for other services, like doctor visits, blood tests and x-rays. You can also get cover for extras like dental treatment, glasses and contact lenses and physiotherapy. All levels of HCF Overseas Visitors Cover also include emergency ambulance services.

We offer different levels of insurance, so you can choose as much or as little cover as you want. So you can enjoy your time in Australia with peace of mind that you can access affordable medical treatment if you need it.

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Choosing cover

How to join HCF

First you need to get a quote. We’ll ask you what type of visa you’re applying for (or already have) and who’ll be on your policy. You then need to choose what level of cover you want. If you need private health insurance as part of your visa requirement please make sure that you choose one of our visa compliant options.

Depending on the cover you choose, you may need to decide if you want to pay an excess. This is the amount you’ll pay if you ever need hospital treatment. Choosing an excess will mean you’ll pay less for your cover.

If you have any questions, we’re here to guide you. You can reach our call centre on 13 68 42. It’s open Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5pm (AEST).

After you’ve joined HCF

If you’ve chosen visa compliant insurance we’ll send you the letter you need for the Department of Home Affairs once you’ve applied for your cover, so you can complete your visa application sooner.

If you’re outside of Australia when you get your insurance you’ll need to activate your cover when you arrive. You can do this through your dashboard.

If you’re in Australia, we’ll send you a welcome pack, which will include your membership card(s) and policy documents.

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Using your cover

Choosing a doctor

In Australia, a regular doctor (known as a General Practitioner or GP) is probably the first doctor you’ll go to with any health issues you may have.

If you need to see a specialist doctor (like a cardiologist, surgeon, obstetrician or dermatologist) a GP will refer you for treatment. 

Unless you’re from a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia, the Australian Government won’t cover the costs of seeing a GP or a specialist and you’ll be responsible for the full cost. 

Depending on the level of cover you choose, you can be covered for up to 100% of the cost of seeing a GP from our GP network. 

If you need to see a specialist for treatment, choosing one from the HCF network (a medical gap doctor) can also save you money. Ask the specialist if your insurance will cover the whole cost of your treatment, or whether there’ll be any extra charges for you to pay.

To find a GP in our GP network, call our Overseas Visitors Helpline on 13 68 42. To find a specialist in the HCF network go to the Healthshare website.

Choosing a hospital

We have agreements with a large number of private hospitals across Australia. If you go to a hospital in the HCF network your insurance should cover all of the hospital costs of treatment that’s covered on your policy. Apart from your excess (if you have one), possibly doctors’ costs (see above), gap for prostheses and gap for diagnostic services like x-rays, scans and blood tests. 

If you go to a private hospital that isn’t in the HCF network, or public hospital as a private patient, you’ll probably be able to choose your doctor, but you won’t be covered by the Australian government for the cost of your treatment. That means you’re likely to have pay extra costs (gap). You can avoid extra costs if you go to a private hospital in the HCF network

To check what treatments you’re covered for, log in and check your policy details or call our Overseas Visitors Helpline on 13 68 42.

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Using your extras

Our extras provider network includes:

  • dentists
  • eye care
  • physiotherapists
  • chiropractors
  • osteopaths
  • podiatrists
  • acupuncture
  • Chinese herbal medicine.

Call us on 13 68 42 to find out more about what you’re covered for and to find a provider near you.

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Whats a waiting period?

When you get your HCF Overseas Visitors Cover, or upgrade to a higher level of cover, you’ll have waiting periods. This is the time you need to wait before you can claim for the services you’re covered for.

If you’re already in Australia your waiting periods will begin on the date your Overseas Visitors Cover starts.

If you’re overseas when you get your cover, your waiting periods won’t begin until you arrive in Australia (and activate your cover).The time you’re overseas after choosing your cover and before activating your cover in Australia doesn’t count.

Waiting periods vary depending on the treatment you need and if your illness or condition was pre-existing.

If a waiting period applies, it can range between 2 and 12 months, and you won’t be able to claim for the treatment for that time.

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We want to make it easier for you to access the health care services you need, whenever you need them. Our Overseas Visitors Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 13 68 42 (13 OVHC), option 2. Our friendly experts speak many languages and are ready to assist you.

Call us: 13 68 42

Health care support

You can call the helpline to ask health questions* or to access providers and services through the HCF network, including:

  • regular doctors (GPs)
  • after-hours GPs
  • GP2U (online GP consultations)
  • emergency departments
  • specialist doctors
  • private hospitals.
  • nurse triage

Most of these services will be covered under your HCF Overseas Visitors Cover and using a provider in the HCF network means you’ll pay no or reduced costs.

* The telephone triage service isn't intended for life threatening or medical emergency situations. It isn’t a diagnostic service and doesn't replace a consultation with a health professional.

Personal support*

The Overseas Visitors Helpline can also support you during your time in Australia by connecting you to:

  • grief and trauma counselling
  • legal services (e.g. lawyers and advice on visa issues)
  • tax advice (e.g. how to do a tax return)
  • home services (e.g. electricians and plumbers)
  • repatriation services (transporting a person who’s covered by your HCF insurance to your home country if they’re seriously ill)
  • funeral arrangements (covering the cost of returning remains or burial in Australia, if a person covered under your HCF insurance dies in Australia).

Most of the personal support services won’t be covered under your HCF Overseas Visitors Cover. This means you’ll be responsible for paying any fees charged by a service provider.

Call us: 13 68 42

*HCF may refer you to third party providers when you use this service. If you decide to engage a provider, it'll be on the basis that HCF won't be responsible, and you won't hold HCF responsible, for any liability that may arise from that engagement.


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