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Understanding Overseas Student Health Cover In Australia

Understanding Overseas Student Health Cover In Australia

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is specifically created to help students who are coming to Australia, afford and manage their health and medical needs.

As a student, you’ll get the same medical cover as an Australian resident, at a base level. You then have options to increase your coverage, including extras, and more.

Different insurance companies offer different packages at different prices. OSHC Australia is here to help you find the best insurance coverage and the best price.

Why OSHC Is Important For International Students

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is vital for international students in Australia. It gives you essential healthcare access, ensuring you receive medical attention while studying abroad. 

It also fulfils visa requirements, preventing potential visa issues and allowing students to focus on their education without health-related concerns.

Do I Need Overseas Student Health Cover?

The Department of Home Affairs in Australia requires almost all student visa applicants to have OSHC to study in Australia. Students from Sweden, Norway and Belgium may have special arrangements under their own national healthcare schemes.

You must be applying for, or a holder of, an eligible Student visa to be eligible for OSHC.

Your OSHC needs to be supplied by an Australian insurer, one who has an agreement with the Australian Government to do so.

The 6 Providers Of OSHC 

In Australia, there are 6 insurance companies that provide OSHC. They are:

CBHS

AHM

NIB

Allianz

Medibank

Bupa

It can be tricky to find the differences between each of them, besides the price tag. While it may feel tempting to go for the cheapest option, you might have restrictions on the providers you can use your insurance cover at. There may be differences in how you get a refund and how slowly this may happen.

The team here at OSHC Australia can help narrow down the choices to find the best value OSHC cover that's right for you.

What Does OSHC Cover?

What is OSHC, how does OSHC work, and what does OSHC cover? It gives you the basic of health coverage that all Australian citizens have- Hospital, Ambulance, Prescriptions and other out-of-hospital treatments, such as GP or physiotherapy.

Hospital

  • 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Fee for medical services provided in the hospital
  • Shared ward accommodation in a public hospital for an overnight stay.
  • Private hospital in a private room, for hospitals with connection to your health fund.
  • Emergency ambulance transport for admission into the hospital.
  • Many in-hospital treatments and surgeries have no wait time.

Out Of Hospital Treatment (Doctors)

  • General Practice (GP) visits, including telehealth, will have 100% coverage of the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) fee.
  • Specialist visits, you can get up to 85% of the MBS fee covered.
  • If You need x-rays or blood tests, you can, again, get up to 85% of the MBS covered.
  • Prescription Medicines, you can get the gap between the Pharmacy Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment, and the amount paid, and refunded to you.
  • Allied health- You can claim a gap payment, with no waiting period, for a variety of allied health services.

Ambulance

  • If you are in an emergency and need ambulance transport to hospital, you are covered.
  • If an ambulance is called and you receive on-the-spot medical treatment, you are covered.
  • Non-emergency ambulance travel is not covered.

 

Prescription Medicines 

As an OSHC recipient, you do get pharmaceutical benefits, but they are limited:

  • $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 per year for a single or $600 for a family membership.

You need to be aware of the limits with this benefit. If you need ongoing pharmaceutical treatment, it can become costly for you.

You are allowed to bring in some medications from your homeland, and import small amounts as you need, but do check with officials regarding this.

What Does OSHC Not Cover?

The OSCH does not cover every medical situation. Some procedures are not covered due to restrictions placed by the Australian Government. These include:

  • Treatment was arranged prior to coming to Australia.
  • Treatment required while travelling to, or travelling from Australia.
  • Treatment is paid for by a court order as compensation.

Treatments Not Covered By Medicare

For some medical procedures, you won’t receive coverage as they are not covered by Medicare. These include:

  • Visiting a dentist.
  • Physiotherapy, speech therapy, chiropractor and so forth.
  • Glasses and contact lenses.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Cosmetic Surgery.

If you do need coverage for these services, you can apply for an Extras policy to be put on top of your basic OSHC policy.

Specialist Treatments

  • IVF treatment
  • Extras services such as going to a dentist, physiotherapist, optometrist, or other medical and alternative treatment services. You can buy Extras Insurance coverage for these.
  • Services such as laser eye surgery, cosmetic surgery, or experimental surgery
  • Treatments outside of Australia

You Can Purchase Extras On Top Of Your OSHC Policy

For the services, such as optical and dental, which are not covered by OSHC, you can purchase an Extras policy on top of your basic OSHC policy.

Chat to us, or with your insurance provider to discuss costs and the extras you want.

Understanding Waiting Periods 

Waiting periods are the amount of time between paying for insurance, and being able to claim on your insurance.

For the basic OSHC package, usually, there are no wait times. Coverage starts when you enter the country.

However, there are wait times for ‘pre-existing conditions’. If you have a health condition prior to applying for OSHC, there will be a waiting period for you to sit through before you can claim insurance on that condition.

There is usually a 12-month wait for pregnancy care as well.

Always check to see how long waiting periods are and match that with your travel timetable. 

Length Of Cover

The length of cover you have must cover your whole time in Australia as a student, plus any time you’re going to spend in Australia after your studies.

As having OSHC coverage is a requirement of your visa, if it expires, the Department of Home Affairs Will automatically cancel your visa.

It’s pretty easy to extend your OSHC. Check-in with your provider to find out more, 

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OSHC Australia is here to help you. We want to inform you to make the best decision, give you the best customer service, and ultimately save you money.

That’s who we are, and that's what we do for you.