Finances

Overseas Student Health Cover

by Sally L. Watkins Wednesday March 11th 2020

Overseas Student Health Cover-oshc-79273

International students are required to have OSHC

Organizing your Overseas Student Health Cover is an important part of accepting your offer from University.

Most Universities have a preferred provider and you can organise this at the time of your acceptance. See the provider options at Australian Government's approved providers.

If you don't have your OSHC yet, you can find information on how to arrange your health cover and which students are exempt.

It is a condition of your student visa to have health insurance for the duration of your visa. This means you need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and keep your policy up to date as long as you hold a Student Visa.

The OSHC assists international students to meet the costs of Medical and Hospital Care for the duration of your stay in Australia. OSHC also includes ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals. while your University has many medical services for students the OSHC also covers hospitals, doctors, etc.

If you are a student from Sweden, Norway, or Belgium, some exceptions may apply and you may have special arrangements under your own country national schemes - check with the Department of Home Affairs to find out if you are exempt from the requirement to purchase OSHC.

Take care to maintain your cover at all times!

Holding OSHC is a visa requirement, so if you fall behind in payments or have not renewed your cover, you may not be able to claim for services you received while you were in arrears.

If your visa status or Medicare eligibility changes at any time, please inform your insurer as soon as possible to find out whether your level of cover is still suitable. 

You are no longer eligible to hold OSHC once your student visa expires. If staying in Australia you can swap over to a residents' cover or to an Overseas Visitors Health Cover plan.

Medicare and OSHC

If you are in Australia on a student visa from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy or New Zealand, you can also apply for Medicare under your country's Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.

Any Medicare coverage you are entitled to under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement will be in addition to OSHC. Having reciprocal access to Medicare does not exempt you from needing to take out OSHC.

What does OSHC cover?

OSHC policies assist to cover

  1. the cost of hospital treatment
  2. the cost of medical treatment eg. GP
  3. the cost of ambulance services
  4. limited benefits for pharmaceuticals

The minimum requirements of a OSHC policy are set out in the OSHC Deed. For further information, check with your OSHC insurer.

OSHC does not pay for

  • dental
  • optical
  • physiotherapy

You may take Extras OSHC provided by an OSHC provider or sign-up for cover with any Australian Private Health Insurer.

Some international travel insurance may cover extras as well.

OSHC and pharmaceuticals

Limited benefits for pharmaceuticals apply on OSHC.

They are limited to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 a year for single membership.

Students entering Australia may bring in medicines and medical devices and are also able to import small quantities for personal use.

See the Therapeutic Goods Administration website for more information - Entering Australia and Personal Importation Scheme.

How to use OSHC

When you are seeing a Doctor

  1. You need to go to a GP clinic that offers direct billing so you can claim the visit with your OSHC insurance provider.
  2. You will need to show your OSHC membership card with your studnet ID.
  3. The doctors bill will be automatically sent to your OSHC provider.

In some cases, you may need to pay the bill first and make a claim afterwards with your OSHC provider. This can be done by submitting a claim through your providers' website.

When you need to visit a hospital

  1. With any hospital treatment, you'll need to contact your OSHC and if you have private cover, your health insurance company as soon as you can with details of your stay.
  2. They will then help to arrange the necessary payment to the hospital.

If you need Mental Health treatments

  1. You will need to visit your doctor first. Your doctor can then refer you to a Mental Health professional, usually with a psychologist, under a specific Mental Health Care Plan.
  2. You are entitled to six free or partly covered sessions under this plan.
  3. Mental Health Plan can be renewed for another six sessions but can not exceed ten sessions over twelve months.

If the sessions are only partly covered, you may be required to pay the amount between your covered cost and the total amount). You can check these costs prior to your visit.

Where can I purchase OSHC?

OSHC is offered by certain insurers under a Deed of Agreement with the Department of Health to provide adequate health insurance to students at a reasonable cost. Only a small number of registered health insurers offer OSHC:

Health Insurer Insurers website
ahm OSHC www.ahmoshc.com
Allianz Global Assistance (Peoplecare Health) www.allianzassistancehealth.com.au/en/student-visa-oshc/ 
BUPA Australia www.bupa.com.au/health-insurance/oshc
CBHS International Health www.cbhsinternationalhealth.com.au/overseas-students-oshc
Medibank Private www.medibank.com.au
NIB OSHC www.nib.com.au

If you are unsure of what you need, contact the student services team at your educational facility for advice.

How to use OSHC

When you are seeing a Doctor

  1. You need to go to a GP clinic that offers direct billing so you can claim the visit with your OSHC insurance provider.
  2. You will need to show your OSHC membership card with your studnet ID.
  3. The doctors bill will be automatically sent to your OSHC provider.

In some cases, you may need to pay the bill first and make a claim afterwards with your OSHC provider. This can be done by submitting a claim through your providers' website.

When you need to visit a hospital

  1. With any hospital treatment, you'll need to contact your OSHC and if you have private cover, your health insurance company as soon as you can with details of your stay.
  2. They will then help to arrange the necessary payment to the hospital.

If you need Mental Health treatments

  1. You will need to visit your doctor first. Your doctor can then refer you to a Mental Health professional, usually with a psychologist, under a specific Mental Health Care Plan.
  2. You are entitled to six free or partly covered sessions under this plan.
  3. Mental Health Plan can be renewed for another six sessions but can not exceed ten sessions over twelve months.

If the sessions are only partly covered, you may be required to pay the amount between your covered cost and the total amount). You can check these costs prior to your visit.

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