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Overseas Student Health Cover
Why are international students required
to have OSHC?
It is a condition of your student visa that
you have continuous OSHC for the duration
of your stay in Australia. Most Australians
are covered by Australia’s national health
insurance program, Medicare, which covers
a significant amount of the costs required
for healthcare services. While Medicare
does not cover international students,
OSHC allows international students to
access health care without experiencing
Who needs OSHC?
All international students and their family
members (partners and children under
18, for example) need OSHC. The only
exceptions are Belgian students, who are
covered by the Reciprocal Health Care
Agreement between Australia and Belgium;
Norwegian students, who are provided
with health insurance by the Norwegian
Government; and Swedish students, who
have international cover with the Swedish
National Board of Student Aid (CSN) or
Kammarkollegiet (Swedish students not
covered by these agencies will need OSHC).
New Zealand citizens residing in Australia
can access Medicare benefits.
Who offers OSHC and how much will it
The Australian Government Department of
Health has approved the following health
funds to offer OSHC:
• ahm Health Insurance —
• Bupa —
• Medibank —
• Allianz Global Assistance —
The cost of OSHC differs depending on the
type of cover required. The average cost of
minimum cover is AUD$437 for 12 months
of singles cover, $1222 for 12 months of
couples cover and $2022 for 12 months
of family cover (as at July 2015). You can
have your OSHC organised for you by your
institution or purchase it online through the
OSHC provider’s website. You may choose
to take out OSHC with your institution’s
recommended provider or with another
provider. You should speak to the various
OSHC providers before taking out cover
to ensure that the level of cover you have
chosen meets your needs. You may wish
to compare policies from different OSHC
providers to ensure you receive the highest
benefits for the lowest cost.
What kind of services am I entitled to
through my OSHC?
Basic OSHC covers visits to the doctor,
some hospital treatment, limited
pharmaceuticals, ambulance cover, some
prosthetic devices and access to private
hospitals and day surgeries. Dental, optical
and physiotherapy treatments are not
covered by basic OSHC but are available as
‘extras’ from some OSHC providers as part
of more comprehensive OSHC cover.
How do I pay for treatment?
In most cases, OSHC will cover a good
proportion of your medical expenses. When
you receive a bill for medical treatment, you
may pay the bill and then get a refund from
your OSHC provider or have the bill sent
directly to your OSHC provider for payment.
Payment arrangements differ between
OSHC providers, so contact your provider
for more information.
What if I need treatment while I’m in
The best option is to visit a doctor or go
to the emergency department of a public
hospital. Many educational institutions
have a doctor on campus or nearby.
OSHC providers often have direct billing
relationships with medical clinics to ensure
students can access treatment with no or
International students must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) so they are
covered for any medical treatment that may be required during their stay in Australia.
minimal up-front expenses. The doctor
will refer you to a specialist or hospital
if further treatment is required. You
can choose either a public or a private
hospital, but you should contact your
OSHC provider before going to a private
hospital to check that you will be covered
for treatment. You should also contact your
OSHC provider before going to a public
hospital in a non-emergency situation or
for an elective procedure to ensure that
you are covered. In an emergency, you
should go immediately to the emergency
department of the nearest hospital, calling
an ambulance on ‘000’ if appropriate.
How long do I need to be covered?
You must obtain OSHC for the proposed
duration of your student visa and renew
your OSHC if you extend the length of your
Can I transfer to a different OSHC
You can transfer to a different OSHC
provider at any time, but some providers
charge a fee if you transfer to a new policy
before your old one ends.
Where can I go for further information
If you need further information about
OSHC now or during your stay in Australia,
you can contact the Department of Health,
your education provider or one of the
OSHC providers listed. Information about
OSHC is available on the Department of
Health website at www.health.gov.au/
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