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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I've reviewed the forums and was able to find two instances of applicants with bridging visas who were purchasing private health cover. One person had overseas visitor cover and another had resident cover. I have just accepted a job and after reviewing the Bupa website and brochures I am still unsure which option applies to me (visitor or resident cover). I've already sent an email to the Bupa representative for my employer, but want to find out forum members' experiences.

Can anyone else who has or had a Bridging Visa A or B while also purchasing private health cover respond with the type of cover you chose (visitors or resident) and for which visa type and subclass you applied (e.g partner subclass 309/300/ 820), working subclass 457, etc.)? If anything interesting happened in setting up your private health care, any information or details you want to share about your experience would also be appreciate.

Thank you in advance for sharing. Cheers!
 

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It doesn't matter what visa you are on it depends on the Medicare card. They told me you can get joint/resident private health if you have full Medicare (I am guessing that recipical isn't full).

They never asked anything about my husband's visa just what Medicare he had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Mish,
Thanks for the response. I assume your husband had the blue, interim Medicare card, and that provides full Medicare. Is that correct?

I also wonder if it depends on whether the corporate plan is offered through the sponsor's employer versus the applicant's employer (for example, if you applied for family cover through Bupa with your employer, rather than vice versa).

Best,
Misha
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
FYI, Mish, I am applying with my U.S. passport rather than Dutch since all my entries to Oz have been on my U.S. passport, so a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) doesn't apply to my application/residency here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok. I am just concerned that they might make me select visitor cover, which doesn't have as good a coverage as resident cover has. I am also concerned that I'd need to pay separate rates for my partner and me based on our different residency statuses (citizen, Bridging A Visa holder), rather than the cheaper family rates. I will share what I hear from Bupa next week, but am eager to have other people's experiences for my responses in the event my options are limited.

I remember from a previous post that your partner had chosen not to apply for private cover; did this change? If so, did he apply independently, through his work, or through yours? (I understand if you don't want to share details :) )

Cheers, Misha
 

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We chose not to get private health when he came on his PMV since he rarely gets sick and the International one was very expensive.

After he got his 820 I put him on my bupa and we now have joint private health (extras only).

Australia isn't like the US where you get health insurance through your job. Here you have the option to decide if you want health insurance if you want and if you both hospital and extras or extras only. Not alot of employers have corporate plans. Most people just go directly to a private health insurance company (that is what we did).

Honestly I only have private health because of physio. If it wasn't for neck issues I have I wouldn't have it at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mish,
We chose not to get private health when he came on his PMV since he rarely gets sick and the International one was very expensive.
Hrmm. This makes me think that I might be made to take visitor cover on my Bridging Visa A, unless your partner didn't have an interim Medicare card between PMV and 820 lodgement.

Australia isn't like the US where you get health insurance through your job. Here you have the option to decide if you want health insurance if you want and if you both hospital and extras or extras only.
For private cover in the U.S., this is actually not correct. There has always been the option to purchase private health care independently (with a variance of packages plus extras etc), however it was often expensive to do so before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed to create an exchange market that pushed the prices down for both independent and corporate health insurance plans. That is why most people obtained private health care through an employer, if it was available. For example, both my sister and I purchased independent, individual private health insurance when self-employed, as did an independently wealthy, unemployed father of a former boyfriend of mine. The PPACA also removes the waiting period for preexisting conditions that are imposed in most Australian private health cover packages.

The main difference between the U.S. and Australia is with public health care. In the U.S. it has only been available to retirees, veterans, those on disability, and low- or no-income earners, versus Australia where it serves as the base healthcare for all Australian citizens and residents. Now with the PPACA, the eligibility requirements have broadened to cover more people, for example, people who are between jobs rather than just long-term unemployed, and many others due to lowered income thresholds.

Not alot of employers have corporate plans. Most people just go directly to a private health insurance company (that is what we did).

Honestly I only have private health because of physio. If it wasn't for neck issues I have I wouldn't have it at all.
I count myself lucky, then. The rates they are offering through the Bupa corporate plans are 30% lower than independent plans, even more if you pay via payroll deduction. I had MBF OVHC some years ago, and it was quite costly. From our experience in the U.S., Australia and Colombia, dental care is extremely expensive in Australia, so we like the private cover for dental care as well as alternative health care (chiro, etc.).

Thanks for the convo :)

Misha
 

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Hrmm. This makes me think that I might be made to take visitor cover on my Bridging Visa A, unless your partner didn't have an interim Medicare card between PMV and 820 lodgement.
No he didn't have Medicare on PMV - PMV holders aren't entitled to Medicare.

I count myself lucky, then. The rates they are offering through the Bupa corporate plans are 30% lower than independent plans, even more if you pay via payroll deduction. I had MBF OVHC some years ago, and it was quite costly. From our experience in the U.S., Australia and Colombia, dental care is extremely expensive in Australia, so we like the private cover for dental care as well as alternative health care (chiro, etc.).
You should see the prices of some of the other private health insurance companies eeeek. Bupa is one of the better ones and gives you alot of extras. However, if you both aren't going to make use of it then do you sums and see what is better off - I have friends who opted not for health insurance because it was cheaper to pay for their dentist a couple of times a year then pay for health insurance all year round.

I must be honest I say that Bupa don't actually pay that good for dentist but then maybe that is normal for dentists? I was disappointed with the gap when I went to the dentist and expected it to be alot lower like when I go to the physio and chiro the gap is really low.
 

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If you have an interim Medicare that gives you full Medicare and you should be able to get private health care insurance, and not pay the international coverage rates. I'm currently in a bridging visa A, and my employer pays for my partner and I's NIB insurance. NIB has their own dental clinics, found it good so far and wasn't charged anything.
 

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If you have a medicare card (which you are entitled to if you have applied for an 820 onshore) then you get resident private health insurance.

None of the funds give anything remotely decent for dental - if dental is your main reason for private health you'd be better off putting the money in a savings account for a trip to Thailand or the Philippines for major work when needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to everyone who has responded thusfar.

We definitely want cover for more than the dental and other extras, and having lived in South America for the past 3 years we are definitely aware of the high quality and low cost options outside of Australia. In the US I'd get my teeth cleaned every 3-4 months for $50 a visit, and I could make the appointment a week or two in advance. In Colombia, a cleaning can cost around 30,000 pesos (~AUD $15) and there are so many dental clinics it's not hard to get a walk-in appointment.

I have Medicare already and am already experiencing a long wait to see a specialist that I didn't experience in the US or Colombia (there are certainly long waits for other kinds of specialists in the US/Colombia but the one I need is pretty common everywhere). We've heard from enough friends in Australia having babies, medical emergencies, and accidents going through public care that had good service but would've been better with some private cover, that it makes the reduced price corporate cover seem like a good deal that we would not regret. We're also coming up against the Lifetime Healthcover Loading deadline. There are things that private healthcare is great for that we couldn't possibly foresee needing, so buying into a cheaper plan now to avoid the loading penalty (up to 70% of your premium - yikes) could pay off a great deal in the event something comes up later. My thought is that we all get old and are exposed to risks even if we follow healthy lifestyles, so it's highly *unlikely* that we would *not* make use of private cover. Anyway, we'll make up our minds this next week.
Thanks again!
 

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I thought of you today when I read the following article: No Cookies | The Courier-Mail

From memory I thought that you can only claim for a check-up/clean every 12 months. I think it is $100 out of pocket but not sure. The dentists are pretty good though because they can give you the code they use and you can ring up the health fund and find out how much you will be out of pocket.

The specialist appoint isn't covered by PHI it is covered by Medicare. It is only afterwards if you need an operation etc that it is covered by PHI but there are some things that PHI doesn't cover a lot of anyway.

Here it usually depends on what the specialist is for and also how popular they are. I needed to go to a specialist once for my hip and I had to wait about 2 months but that was because he was the best. When you have more common things you don't need to wait as long. I seem to usually have the knack of getting in within a week lately - last time I told them I was changing jobs and they fitted me in within a couple of days :)

For the public system here it is all based on catchments so if you don't know what catchment you are in yet check that out and have a look around and see if the hospital is any good. My cousin had a baby last year and the only reason she went private was because of the public hospital in her catchment having a bad name. She said if she was in another catchment with a better hospital she would have gone public. I am in a different catchment to her and I have had a couple of operations in my lifetime and I cannot fault the public system at all.

It is just something to consider if you want to get extras only or extras and hospital. Also there are things that have a wait list too that you need to serve. Another thing is too that if you husband has a health fund at the moment and has served his waiting periods then he doesn't need to serve them only you will need to serve them.

The only thing I dislike about private health is that as a couple you can't bulk the allowances together - would be great if I could use my husband's physio allowance ;).

Bupa have a list on their website on what benefit you will get back for each service so you check that out as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Mish!

That poor man! I wouldn't be surprised if he ditched Bupa after that. I'm going to ask the Bupa representative about flexibility to change levels later so that we know all our options. My partner has experienced the lag they mention about latest treatments not yet being available in Australia. Every 3 months in Colombia he received a common medication administered in a novel, more effective way to reduce side effects. This was paid in full by our top cover, but would've been available for fee otherwise. It's also available in the U.S., Canada, UK, most of Europe, etc. My partner's doctor in Australia said this same common medication in a novel medium was not yet approved for general prescription in Australia, but since he worked in a teaching hospital his clinic was allowed to apply to prescribe it 5 times TOTAL per year (1 patient 5 times, or 1 time to 5 patients in the entire clinic). Frustrating! We've both had good experiences with Medicare, but these kinds of things that spare the patient of adverse side effects make you wonder.

The corporate cover provides for unlimited general dental in the top two tiers (hard to pass up given what we're accustomed to), but I'll make sure to confirm details with the Bupa representative including the benefits list. Bulk or shared allowances would be so cool - the shared deal works so well for our mobile plans.

I need some pointers on how to get appointments. I have a common condition (i.e. lots of specialists available) and the prescription I brought from the U.S. was going to run out in about 2 weeks. Since I was put on the medication only last year I also need to get reevaluated to adjust dosage or take me off the medication. I called hoping this information could bump up my appointment. They told me that I should get my GP to refill the prescription and I'd just have to wait to get reevaluated. Going on three months waiting :/

Thanks for the information about the catchments. I know nothing about those, but I'm sure that plays a role in service provision in the ACT. I'll ask around.

Misha
 

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Even with unlimited general dental you will still be out of pocket. I have silver with Bupa and unlimited general and had a filling a couple of months ago and was still out of pocket $90!! I tried to work out what they were paying out but it differed on the item code *sigh* but it was roughly 45% :(

For your specialist appointment are you on the cancelation list? If not ask to be put on it and tell them you can come and short notice. Other things you can say is that you are starting a new job or going on holidays. It may be hard for you when the GP can give you what you need - mine the GP couldn't help.
 
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