Overseas Student Health Cover

Imagine a nation where medical care is not a privilege but a fundamental right, where citizens and eligible residents can access world-class treatments without the crushing burden of medical bills. Welcome to Australia, where healthcare isn’t just a privilege but a birthright. The healthcare system in Australia is both safe and economical, not just for its citizens but also for international students. The Overseas Student Health Cover is why the country is easily a favorable study location for many international students, far and near!

All international students in Australia are mandated to have proper health insurance coverage throughout their stay.

Why do I need student health insurance?

It assists in covering medical expenses while studying abroad, such as:

  • Doctor’s appointments.
  • Prescription medication 
  • Hospital bills
  • Emergency ambulance

What are the different types of Australian healthcare systems?

  • Public Healthcare System:
    Australia’s public healthcare, powered by Medicare, guarantees basic medical services for citizens and permanent residents. It’s cost-effective, with many services fully covered or minimally charged. Public hospitals, run by the government, provide free medical care, from emergencies to specialized treatments.
  • Private Healthcare System:
    Private healthcare in Australia involves purchasing insurance for additional benefits. Private health insurance complements Australia’s healthcare system, offering individuals the option to access private hospitals, choose their doctors, and receive coverage for services beyond what Medicare provides. It allows for personalized healthcare choices, including faster access to specialists and additional coverage for services like dental care and elective surgeries.

Remember, all international students in Australia are mandated to have proper health insurance coverage throughout their stay.  To put that into action, the Australian Government introduced a program known as the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). The OSHC seeks to care for the health and well-being of international students.

What is Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)?

Overseas Student Health Cover, abbreviated as OSHC, is a health insurance plan specially designed for international students in Australia. It is a mandatory requirement for most student visa holders and ensures that you have access to necessary medical and hospital services while studying in the country.

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In the long run, having health insurance is quite useful for international students. Without health insurance, hospital and medical expenses can be costly, and most of the time, these costs can be difficult to bear. With an OSHC, international students will have a sense of security and safety during their stay in Australia.

Why Do You Need Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)?

As an international student, you need an OSHC for the following reasons:

  • Legal Requirement

First and foremost, OSHC is a legal requirement. For you to be granted an Australian student visa, you must provide evidence of appropriate health insurance. This requirement was put in place to safeguard the health and well-being of both international students and the Australian community.

  • Health and Well-being

Studying abroad is an exciting yet challenging experience. When you’re a long way away from home, having access to medical services is something you should consider very important. With the OSHC in hand, you receive the necessary healthcare, so you can focus on your studies without worrying about unexpected medical expenses.

  • Visa Compliance

As mentioned above, all international students in Australia are mandated to have proper health insurance coverage throughout their stay. Having OSHC coverage is very important for visa compliance. Bear in mind that if your OSHC expires, you may breach your visa conditions, which could lead to visa cancellation and potential deportation.

Further information is available here

Who Needs Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)?

With the exception of the,

  • Norwegian students are covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
  • Swedish students covered by the National Board of Student Aid (CSN)
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All Student Visa Holders, mostly international students in Australia, are mandated to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This includes students pursuing higher education, vocational training, and even some English language courses.

What Does OSHC Cover?

The Australian OSHC typically covers a wide range of medical services, including but not limited to:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Emergency ambulance services
  • Prescription medicines
  • Limited dental and optical services

Further information is available here

How Do I Get OSHC?

Getting OSHC is a straightforward process that involves three careful steps:

  • Firstly, you have to choose a provider. There are several OSHC providers in Australia. Research and select a provider that offers a policy suitable for your needs and budget.
  • Secondly, you have to purchase the OSHC. You can purchase OSHC online or through your educational institution. Make sure to pay the required premium for the duration of your course.
  • Lastly, you will receive a confirmation: Once you’ve purchased OSHC, you will receive a Certificate of Insurance (COI) or an OSHC card, which you’ll need for visa application and renewal.

Once you have chosen and purchased an OSHC plan, make sure that it is valid for the entirety of your stay in Australia. Do not forget to keep your OSHC coverage up-to-date throughout your stay in Australia to avoid negative situations where you might be denied access to proper healthcare services.

Who provides OSHC in Australia, and how much does it cost?

The Department of Health of the Australian Government has approved the following five health funds to provide OSHC:

  • Australian Health Management
  • BUPA Australia
  • Medibank Private
  • Allianz Global Assistance (subcontracted by Lysaght Peoplecare)
  • nib OSHC

To ensure you get the best value for your money, it’s wise to compare OSHC policies from different providers. Look for coverage that meets your needs and budget. Remember that the cheapest option may not always provide the most comprehensive coverage, so choose wisely.

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The cost of OSHC varies according to the type of coverage requested. The lowest cost of minimum protection is AUD$543.85 for 12 months of singles cover, AUD$2,681 for 12 months of couple’s policy, and AUD$4,977 for 12 months of family cover. For further information on how to purchase an OSHC, Click here

*Prices are accurate as of October 2, 2023.

FAQs on the Australian OSHC

Q: Are there any exceptions to the OSHC requirement?

Ans: Some exceptions include Norwegian students covered by their national insurance scheme and Swedish students covered by the National Board of Student Aid (CSN).

Q: What does OSHC cover in terms of medical services?

Ans: OSHC typically covers doctor’s visits, hospitalization, emergency ambulance services, prescription medicines, and limited dental and optical services.

Q: How do I choose an OSHC provider?

Ans: Research and compare OSHC providers based on coverage, cost, and reputation to find one that suits your needs and budget.

Q: How do I purchase OSHC, and when should I buy it?

Ans: You can purchase OSHC online or through your educational institution. Buy it before applying for your student visa.

Q: Can I switch OSHC providers after purchasing a policy?

Ans: Yes, you can switch providers, but it’s essential to carefully consider the terms and coverage of your new policy before making the change.

Q: What should I do if my OSHC is about to expire?

Ans: Ensure you renew your OSHC before it expires to maintain continuous coverage and avoid potential visa complications.

Q: Can I include family members in my OSHC policy?

Ans: Yes, you can often include family members (spouse and dependent children) in your OSHC policy, but you will need to pay additional premiums for their coverage.

By Michael

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