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  1. #1
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    Default IVF treatment on 457 visa

    Hey everyone,

    I am looking for some advice and support from someone in the same situation as me or who knows the ins and outs of it.

    We arrived in Melbourne last September, shortly after undergoing fertility tests in the UK showing we most likely need to go down the IVF route. (We have been trying to conceive for about 2 years now with no luck so know that our chances are slim of having a baby naturally). We were on the waiting list for IVF in the UK but now that we are here, want to continue with this.

    We are on a business long stay visa and although we have the reciprocal Medicare in place, i believe that this does not apply to IVF. We have also started to look at private healthcare but again cant find a policy that will assist in covering all the costs of IVF or a good percentage of them. It appears to be solely hospital stays and small % of doctors bills.

    I was wondering if anyone on here is in the same boat visa wise and how they have managed the costs. What private cover did you have, did medicare cover anything at all?

    Any help is much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Elaine

  2. #2
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    Hi Elaine,

    Unfortunately I don't have any info to add on the Medicare/Visa side of things, but as far as private coverage goes the most you'd get back for a cycle is around $500-$1,500 (this is just the hospital/day surgery component) and I'm pretty sure most insurers have a 12 month waiting period for IVF/fertility services. It may be handy to have private coverage if it's likely you'll be in Australia for the birth of your baby. But again bear in mind that most insurers have a 12 month waiting period for obstetric services. My PHI is through Latrobe Health Services and when I joined around 18 months ago their waiting period was only 9 months - not sure if that's still the case though.
    I hope you can get some answers soon about the medicare side of things. Perhaps it might be worth calling Medicare directly to see if they can help you?

    Best of luck

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Katieee For This Useful Post:

    vikki2906  (27-01-2011)

  4. #3
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    Hi Vikki,

    Unfortunately on the 457 visa you cannot claim anything on Medicare, as IVF. However, as soon as you apply for a Permanent Residency visa you are covered. It costs around $2500 to apply for PR and this is generally less than the difference of your out of pocket expenses for an IVF cycle with and without a rebate. Your OOP will be in the region of $8-12K without the medicare rebate and $2-5K with it depending on which clinic you choose.

    If you want to stay in Australia in the long term and meet the application criteria then I would advise applying for PR.

    Let me know if you need any more advice. Good Luck

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    vikki2906  (27-01-2011)

  6. #4
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    thank you for the information and replies.

    Its frustrating as in the UK i would have got 3 free attempts on the NHS and I am finding everything so complicated (and expensive) here! The insurance i was looking into was with HCF and they had a 12 month waiting period. I am a little unsure about even taking it at that level though as monthly it would cost about $250. Over the year I would be better off paying the excess combined with Medicare (when i can).

    We do intend to stay here long term so it will be a case of waiting for PR I think. Will look into that now although I was under the impression i need to wait 2 years before doing that on a 457.

    Thanks again!
    Elaine

  7. #5
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    Hi Elaine

    I know exactly what you are going through and I have some very good news for you!

    Me and my partner have been in Australia for almost 4 years and have been on a 457 Business Visa for the whole time (my partner is sponsored by his employer) we found out in Aug 09 whilst here that we also needed to do IVF and were initally super excited at finally having an answer after over a year of trying naturally however our excitement was soon squashed when we started looking into what you are talking about. We found it really hard to find out any information from both Medicare and Melbourne IVF about what we could claim back and how much it was going to cost. At one point I rang MIVF and got the item numbers (Medicare have item numbers for each procedure ie appointment with your fertility doctor would be 13209 and this number would correspond with Medicare and how much you would get back) and gave the item numbers to Medicare over the phone along with my Medicare number (we have the yellow Reciprocal health care cards) and the silly lady on the phone told me they werent covered (but she was dumb and obviously didnt get asked the question very often) I forget now exactly where I looked next but we did manage to find the information we needed and you are 100% COVERED through Medicare. Medicare have a threshold for a 12 month period in which you need to reach a certain level of costs before you can claim back a decent amount, someone may correct me here but its something like before you reach the threshold of say $1100 you can claim back around 50% of all costs and for me (and you) this means GP visits, consultations with my fertility doctor, some bloodtests, scans with my fertility doctor, and ALL IVF COSTS except medications and bed fees for when you have egg pick up. After you have reached the threshold (very easily done when doing IVF) then you can claim back 85% of ALL IVF COSTS when you are on a 457 visa.

    Ive just pulled out a few old receipts and for example we did a frozen embryo transfer in June 2010, we paid MIVF a total of $2350 and I took my receipt to a Medicare office and they processed a refund to me right there of $1408.90. We did another frozen transfer in August 2010 at a cost of $2415.00 and again I got a refund of $1467.80. We did a big ICSI cycle in November 2010 and paid approx $7400, I cant find my receipt for that one but I know that we definately got approx $5000 back from Medicare.

    We have private health insurance (which is flipping expensive on a 457 visa im sure you know!) and whilst we could have changed it and paid alot more to have pregnancy cover, im not sure if it covers IVF and to be honest we didnt need it to because we were able to claim so much back from Medicare. I have been able to claim a few costs through our health insurance mainly to do with my egg pick ups and afternoons in hospital during this time.

    I understand that you must be feeling really overwhelmed by the whole situation as we were but if you are definately on a 457 sponsored working/business visa then you can definately totally and utterly 100% claim back on most costs through Medicare. And you dont need to be a permanent resident to do this, I am not and I have claimed! As I mentioned before, approx $5000 (this may be a little less depending on where the threshold is when you start) on a full stim IVF cycle and approx $1400 on frozen transfers. Meaning that for us we were out of pocket on the big stim cycles by approx $2500 and approx $950 on frozen transfers. Every single consultation ive had with my fertility doctor has also been covered by Medicare so I have got 50% or 85% back depending on where I have been up to on the Medicare threshold.

    Ive been doing IVF here now for over a year on a 457 so im more than happy to answer any questions you have about all this Medicare business. We had to dig through and find the answers ourselves which was pretty scary! PM me if you want to chat, im even happy to speak on the phone about it if you like.

    Best of luck and keep in touch with how you get on


    Oh and one more thing - once we found out about the Medicare rebates, we were super happy to find out we needed IVF whilst here, we think its a blessing that we arent in the UK. Once you have sorted out your police checks (you need a certificate before you can start, pretty easy to sort out) then you can start IVF straight away! No waiting lists here. Yeah you dont get the 3 free goes but you are in excellent care, can start straight away and are dealing with some of the best clinics in the world here..much better than the crappy NHS!

    Lindsay XX

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    vikki2906  (28-01-2011)

  9. #6
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    thank you so much Lindsay for your response!

    I had no idea that we could claim 100% as I spoke to medicare and got the standard 'medically necessary treatment only' response. Although in saying that, our first chat with MIVF at the open day, they said they were sure it was covered on our visa type but to check with Medicare.

    I think i will make an appointment to go and speak to them directly, get all costs and then speak to Medicare with job numbers etc to make sure they are still covered given the changes that have taken place in Jan 2011.

    But that is excellent news and such as relief that we wont have to wait years, after years of trying already!

    Still debating the health care coverage for IVF, i dont think it seems worth it esp with the 1 year waiting they put you on.

    Going to share the news with hubby and make an appointment!

    Would be great to hear how you found MIVF, did you look anywhere else?

    I will probably have lots of questions so i will take you up on your offer if you dont mind! Will PM you as and when I find out more!

    Thanks
    Elaine

  10. #7
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    Default IVF Rebate 2011 (457 Visa/Applying for residency)

    Hi All,

    Hoping one of you can help.

    I've had previous, (thankfully successful) IVF treatment in Oz and received c.43% of a total (drugs, everything) treatment cycle back via Medicare. This was on a reciprocal health care arrangement as we are on a 457 visa. We are now considering applying for residency and wondered if anyone can answer the following?

    1. How much does an Australian residency currently receive back from Medicare? (%?)

    2. Which resident health care policy is the best for IVF treatment?

    3. At what stage in the residency application process will Medicare pay out? E.g. I read above once police checks are done? Do the invoices need to be dated after the date of the police checks??

    Your help on the above would be appreciated. Happy to answer any IVF related questions in return!

    Thanks. x

  11. #8
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    Hey Caramelo

    Good to hear you had a successful IVF! Did you go through a Melbourne clinic for this?

    Sorry I am not much help to you but think you may be of help to me

    Would you be willing to share how you found out and how you went about claiming on a 457? We are in that situation and have been told by medicare and the clinic (Melbourne IVF) that we are not entitled to any claim on Medicare but it appears there are some people out there who have done it, you included!

    Any advice or where to go in order to confirm eligibility?

    I think that once you are PR then you are entitled to everything a citizen is and most clinics give an example on the web for those people with Medicare and private insurance.

    Good luck with finding the answers to your questions.

    Elaine

  12. #9
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    Hi Elaine,

    It's very difficult to get an answer on claiming for IVF as you can imagine there would be some who disagree with payments to those on 457's even though the UK/Oz govt. cross charge for health usage.

    We used Sydney IVF in 2008 for a long cycle, no ICSI, plus c$500 in additional investigative blood tests. You will find the clinics do not like to divulge rebate info - they could get it wrong also.

    You will definitely get something back on reciprocal, it is just a case of how much. We are about to start another cycle and will be budgeting $10k (budget c$12k for first cycle) and to get 30% of a total, long cycle beginnning to end back. The reason we are not allowing the 43% we received last time is that they cut the rebate back in January 2009. We're not sure how this affects us, but we think residents used to get 85% and now get 70%.

    It is almost impossible to get anything in writing. If you are nervous to begin a cycle without this then my recommendation would be to:

    1. Test the system by booking an appointment with your GP and request a referral to a clinic. The IVF doctor will charge c$300-$400 for an appointment, but you should get 30%-50% back for this. This will also help you find out what protocol you'll be on and therefore how much.

    2. Ask the clinic to email you the item numbers for a standard, long protocol and short protocol cycle. You can then phone medicare and ask if you are covered and how much you would get back. They should ask you for your medicare number. Insist they check your file as your circumstances are different. i.e. reciprocal. If you get stuck I can dig mine out for you.

    Hope this helps. Let me know how you get on!
    Cx

  13. #10
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    P.S You can't claim for the drug costs as you'd need private pharmacy cover which doesn't always include IVF anyway.


 

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