Home' Studies in Australia : Studies in Australia 2017 Contents 21
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 supported by the 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 provides access to health care
without financial hardship.
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 a number of health
funds to offer OSHC. This includes:
• ahm Health Insurance
• Bupa (http://oshc.bupa.com.au)
• Allianz Global Assistance
The cost of OSHC differs depending on the
type of cover required. The average cost of
minimum cover is approximately AUD$500
for 12 months of singles cover, $2,600 for
12 months of couples cover and $4,200
for 12 months of family cover (as at June
2016). 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 OSHC providers before
taking out cover to ensure that the level
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.
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 it and then get a refund from
your OSHC provider or have the bill sent
directly to your OSHC provider for payment.
Payment arrangements vary between
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 institutions have a doctor on
campus or nearby. OSHC providers often
have direct billing relationships with medical
clinics to ensure students can access
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.
treatment with no or minimal up-front
expenses. The doctor will refer you to a
specialist or hospital if further treatment is
required. You can choose a public or 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 duration of
your student visa and renew your OSHC if
you extend the length of your stay.
Can I transfer to a different OSHC
You can transfer to a different OSHC
provider at any time, but some charge an
exit fee if you move to a new policy.
Where can I go for further information
If you need further information about
OSHC, you can contact the Australian
Department of Health, your education
provider or one of the OSHC providers
listed. See the Department of Health
website at www.health.gov.au/internet/
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