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Compulsory 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. In Australia, most people are covered by the public health system, which covers a significant amount of the costs required for healthcare services. Australia’s national health insurance program, Medicare, does not cover international students. However, OSHC allows overseas students to access healthcare without experiencing financial hardship.

Who needs OSHC?

All international students and their family members (spouses and children under 18 years of age) need OSHC. The only exceptions are Norwegian students, who are provided with health insurance by the Norwegian Government, and Swedish students who have insurance with CSN International. New Zealand citizens residing in Australia can access Medicare benefits.

Who offers OSHC and how much will it cost?

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing has approved the following health funds to offer OSHC:

Cover for a single person costs around $90 for three months and approximately $340 for 12 months. It is worth comparing the prices of cover from each provider as they vary. Many providers offer a discount on longer periods of cover.

What services does OSHC offer you? Does OSHC cover all medical and hospital expenses?

No. Part but not all of your expenses are covered. In most cases OSHC will cover a good proportion of the costs. You should speak to the OSHC providers before taking out cover to ensure that you have the best cover with the lowest cost and highest benefits.

What is extra OSHC?

Extra OSHC gives international students access to services that are not covered by OSHC medical and hospital cover (for example, dental, physiotherapy and optical services). OSHC providers will be able to provide full details of the services available under extra OSHC cover, and the additional cost involved.

What if I need treatment while I’m in Australia?

The best option is to go and see a doctor. Most educational facilities have a doctor on campus or nearby. Many OSHC providers also have direct billing relationships with medical clinics to ensure students have access to treatment with no or minimal out-of-pocket expenses. The doctor will refer you to a specialist or hospital if further treatment is required. You can choose either a public or private hospital, but you should contact your OSHC provider before going to a private hospital to ensure that you will be covered for treatment at that hospital.

How do I pay for medical treatment?

When you receive a bill for medical treatment, there are generally two choices. You can pay the bill and then get a refund from your health insurer, or the unpaid account can be given directly to your health insurer. For pharmaceutical claims, you need to pay the chemist first and then claim back from your health insurer.

Hospital bills are normally sent direct to health insurers for payment. However, arrangements for payment of treatment expenses will vary between health insurers. You should contact your health insurer for further information.

How long do I need cover for?

You must have OSHC for the entire length of your study stay in Australia. The minimum period of cover is 12 months or the length of your student visa, whichever is shorter.

Can I transfer to a different OSHC provider?

It is easy to transfer between OSHC providers at any time. Some providers charge a ‘refund processing fee’ if you transfer to a new policy before your old policy ends. Your new provider will require evidence of your previous cover and the length you held cover for, to ensure that you don’t have to re-serve your waiting period.

Where can I go for further information or help?


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