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eddiep

Utterly confused about the Medicare Levy and Medicare Levy Surcharge

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Hi all

 

I hope you can help again.....these forums have been great.

 

I move to Melbourne in early June on a a 457 VISA.

 

As part of my 457 Visa application, I have to have a private medical insurance policy for all my family. I've been looking into this with BUPA, IMAN NIB etc and for a fairly comprehensive cover it is looking like a pretty eye watering $500-$600 per month or so.

 

If I need to take this out, as I want to be well covered, then I'm happy to bite the bullet. However the piece I am struggling to understand is the Medicare Levy and the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

 

Our family income will be above the income threshold resulting in a 1.5% levy. It is my understanding that under reciprocal arrangements, that we would qualify for Medicare.

 

What I don't want to do is face a double whammy of paying a Medicare Levy and MLS AND pay the private health insurance on top.

 

I have a couple of specific questions:

 

1. Am I right in saying that if I have the private health insurance (which is a requirement of my VISA anyway) that I am fully exempt from the Medicare Levy and or MLS?

 

2. If not, then presumably i just want to take out basic cover (as I am Medicare covered) with some extras such as Ambulance and Dental Covers as extras?

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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If you have private health insurance you don't pay the surcharge.

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Thanks Rupert - I appreciate your help. Do you mean the Levy AND the surcharge, or just the surcharge.

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Just the surcharge, can't get out of paying the levy

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If you have private health insurance you don't pay the surcharge.

 

Not necessarily. I am on a 457 and was with Iman. Even though I paid for private healthcare (pretty much exactly the same as someone with PR or citizenship), i was still liable for the surcharge as it doesn't fully cover you.

 

They don't tell you this until you attempt to complete your tax return and you can't enter the code you need need to provide. They will however sell you additional hospital cover which, although you cannot actually use, will exempt you from the surcharge. When I did the math the additional payment was more than the surcharge cost... In short, I canceled the cover and took the hit on the surcharge as it was much cheaper.

 

Not sure if this is the same with Bupa but definitely ask the question as you might get a shock come tax time.

 

Eddy


Nomination: Lodged - November 2014; Supporting Docs Requested - Late March 2015; Nomination Approved - Late April 2015 = 160 days;

 

Visa: Lodged - 30 April 2015; Visa Status – Approved!!! 03 September 2015 (127 days)

Processing Centre: NSW

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I love these forums - people are so happy to help if you ask the right specific questions. Thanks Rupert and Cez- that's really clear. I've been struggling with this for a while and that has made it much easier! Another question if I may?

 

I have been getting quotes from a few insurers, and took out a policy with NIB, but they then hiked the premium by 15% on April 30th! I'm in my cooling off period so am minded to shop around again.I've had a look at the iSelect site, but they do not have a foreign national price and policy comparison site. The policies all vary as do the excesses dependent on cover. Is anyone aware of a good comparison site fo this type of cover?

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https://www.nib.com.au/home/newtonib/whynib/pages/temporaryresidents.aspx

 

Quote "Your Working Visa Health Plan membership does not help you avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge. The good news is you can join nib’s Public Hospital Cover which will help you avoid the MLS whilst you are a temporary resident in Australia."

Eddy


Nomination: Lodged - November 2014; Supporting Docs Requested - Late March 2015; Nomination Approved - Late April 2015 = 160 days;

 

Visa: Lodged - 30 April 2015; Visa Status – Approved!!! 03 September 2015 (127 days)

Processing Centre: NSW

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Eddy - Thanks good advice indeed. Looks like I'll need to hit the phones as this is not clear on many providers web sites and it was IMAN that hiked my cover price.

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One thing to consider is that you only need the insurance for coming into the country. Apparently many people have given details of travel insurance which has been accepted.

Once you are here, if your from the uk (Ireland is different) then you are entitled to reciprocal Medicare which covers just about everything you'd need. I stayed on that for five years and never had one thing I couldn't claim for. Including gp visits for non emergencies, smear tests etc and even an eye test every two years! In sa at least ambulance cover you need to get seperatly.

The only time I've seen anyone have problems with that I believe was something to do with a tumour? It looked like the dr had put the wrong code down. To be honest though, if you had something that serious on a 457 visa I'd be looking at leaving as your chances of pr then start plummeting.


Has two beautiful Aussie little girls :-)

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Eddy - Thanks good advice indeed. Looks like I'll need to hit the phones as this is not clear on many providers web sites and it was IMAN that hiked my cover price.

 

No Worries. For comparison I think I was paying about $80 per month as a single person on their most basic package. The surcharge was going to be about $800 and I was quoted about double that so I could avoid paying it... Bit of a no brainer really. However, whilst i was covered I did go in for surgery privately at a cost of about $6000 and Iman picked up the tab in full no questions. In that respect it was probably worth having paid the premium although I was a bit miffed when I got hit with the surcharge.

 

Good luck on your adventure! Hope everything goes well. Oz is a great place :biggrin:

 

Eddy


Nomination: Lodged - November 2014; Supporting Docs Requested - Late March 2015; Nomination Approved - Late April 2015 = 160 days;

 

Visa: Lodged - 30 April 2015; Visa Status – Approved!!! 03 September 2015 (127 days)

Processing Centre: NSW

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Thanks Rupert - I appreciate your help. Do you mean the Levy AND the surcharge, or just the surcharge.

 

No, if I meant the levy and the surcharge I would have said the levy and the surcharge.

 

:wink:

 

It exempts you from the surcharge.

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Rupert - I was trying to be grateful! and I said I appreciated your help!:embarrassed:

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Guest guest73691

I'm on a 457, have insurance with BUPA and still have to pay the MLS. I found that calling the insurance companies didn't really make things any clearer - usually the people in the call centre didn't have a clue and I was wrongly told a couple of times that the policy I was enquiring about would exempt me from the MLS. I think the only way around it, as has been said, is to buy a policy on top of the temp resident policy for hospital cover. You can't use this as such, but it exempts from the MLS. All seems a bit strange!

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I don't know how it works for those with reciprocal medicare coverage (e.g. UK citizens), but I assume you simply buy the same level of coverage an Australian would buy to exempt them from the surcharge. I don't think you could get out of the levy though.

 

Being from Canada, I didn't have reciprocal medicare coverage and had to buy overseas visitor coverage as a condition of my 457. Every July I'd apply for a Medicare Exemption Certificate, and this enabled me to get a refund of both the levy and surcharge on my tax return. Now that I'm on a 186 visa, that stops since I now qualify for Medicare.

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I will chip in something.

 

If you are from the UK, you need cover until you arrive and register with medicare. You dont have to have cover from then it is a personal choice. If you are going be liable for the surcharge because of salary, then it is probably worth having. That and things like dental are very expensive in Oz

 

Be aware that most cover though does not allow 457 holders to claim the rebate. There are only a couple of policies out there that do. I know, because i got caught out by that. The only one i found that offered cover that did and was worthwhile having was BUPA who do a special policy for 457 holders

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I don't know how it works for those with reciprocal medicare coverage (e.g. UK citizens), but I assume you simply buy the same level of coverage an Australian would buy to exempt them from the surcharge. I don't think you could get out of the levy though.

 

Being from Canada, I didn't have reciprocal medicare coverage and had to buy overseas visitor coverage as a condition of my 457. Every July I'd apply for a Medicare Exemption Certificate, and this enabled me to get a refund of both the levy and surcharge on my tax return. Now that I'm on a 186 visa, that stops since I now qualify for Medicare.

 

That's the crazy thing. I'm British with reciprocal Healthcare and despite paying the same as an Australian for medical cover i still had to pay the surcharge :S I'm surprised the government tightened up on the 457 Visa as we're the perfect people to live here: must be employed therefore must pay tax, can't claim benefits, in some states have to pay school fees, pay this medicare surcharge thing and if we finally lose our jobs and can't pay tax we get kicked out of the country, Haha! Sorry, but off topic...

 

EDDY


Nomination: Lodged - November 2014; Supporting Docs Requested - Late March 2015; Nomination Approved - Late April 2015 = 160 days;

 

Visa: Lodged - 30 April 2015; Visa Status – Approved!!! 03 September 2015 (127 days)

Processing Centre: NSW

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