Everything you need to know about Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

8 minutes reading time (1544 words)

[:en]At this stage, you are probably preparing to accept your offer from an institution of your choice! As an international student, you are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your study in Australia .

What is OSHC?
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a health insurance that provides cover to contribute towards the costs of out of hospital treatment, in hospital medical service, prescription medicines and emergency ambulance assistance.

As part of the Student Visa requirement, all international students will need to have an OSHC for the duration of their study before applying for an Australian Student Visa. If your overseas study has been extended, you will have to renew your OSHC policy too.

Why do I need OSHC?
During your first few weeks there, you will be trying to adapt to the new environment and based on experience, students usually tend to feel under the weather due to the weather difference etc.

It can be quite daunting having to fall sick in the new environment not knowing where is the nearest clinic to go to, how expensive the medical treatment will be etc. Having OSHC will give you a peace of mind.

Moreover, in case you didn’t know, overseas students are not eligible for Medicare (the public health insurance system for Australian Residents). Without access to Medicare, overseas students may have difficulty paying for medical treatment. In most cases, hospital treatment will cost more than $1500 per day.

Compare the various health covers available
There are various providers that students can purchase OSHC from. It’s easy to buy your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) online, however, most of the time our counsellors will help students with the purchase before applying for Student Visa. Our experienced counsellors know exactly what to do and can recommend options that fit your needs.

Provider What’s Covered What’s not Covered Cost
Allianz Hospital
  • 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for medical services provided in hospital
  • Public hospital shared ward accommodation for overnight or same-day hospital stays
  • Private hospital accommodation (for hospitals that have a contracted rate with Australian Health Services Alliance)
  • Surgically implanted prostheses up to the approved amount listed on the Australian Prostheses List
  • You’re covered for emergency ambulance transport to hospital for admission and on-the-spot emergency treatment
Doctors and Specialists (out of hospital)
  • 100% of the MBS fee for medical services provided by a General Practitioner (GP)
  • 85% of the MBS fee for medical services provided by a specialist (e.g. visiting a radiologist to get an x-ray)
  • 85% of the MBS fee or other medical tests (e.g. blood tests)
Prescription medicines
  • Up to $50 per approved prescription medicine
  • Up to $300 each year for singles
  • Up to $600 each year for families or couples

  • Pre-existing medical conditions within the relevant waiting period
  • Assisted reproductive medical service (including IVF)
  • Cosmetic surgery procedures
  • Medications, drugs or other treatments not prescribed by a doctor
  • Prescription medication not included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS)
  • Physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy and any other ancillary services (may be covered under an Extras policy)
  • Dental treatment (may be covered under an Extras policy)
  • Optical (may be covered under an Extras policy)
Depends on the duration of your health cover
NIB Doctors and Specialists
  • Doctors visits
  • Specialist services
  • Medical treatment at hospital
  • Public hospital
  • Private hospital
  • Emergency Ambulance
  • Prescription Medication
  • Prostheses

  • Infertility treatments
  • Extra services such as dentists, physiotherapists, glasses etc.
  • Treatment outside of Australia
  • Services not covered by Medicare such as cosmetic surgery, laser eye treatment
When do I need to get it?
It is a requirement to get your health insurance for your Student Visa. Hence, students usually purchase their OSHC before applying for Student Visa.

Why can’t I use the insurance I already have instead of getting OHSC? 
You can’t use health insurance from an overseas insurer or use travel insurance to cover your medical expenses while you are here. You must be covered by an Australian-registered private health insurer. This is so that the Australian Government can monitor and regulate insurers covering people who are living in Australia temporarily.

How do I pay for my OSHC?
Purchasing of OSHC can be done online, hence, payment can be made via Credit Card. However, if you prefer alternative payment options, do let our education counsellors know.

How long do I need to buy OSHC for?
While selecting your start and end date for OSHC, do note that your student visa will be granted according to the expiry date for your OSHC. Therefore, when choosing your start date, be sure to select the date you will arrive in Australia. If you are unsure, choose a date up to 28 days before the start date of your course. If you are switching from another OSHC provider, choose the day after your OSHC expires.

As part of the visa condition, you must be covered for OSHC continuously. You must not arrive in Australia before your OSHC starts.

For your end date selection, your OSHC must cover the full period of your student visa. Your student visa can be granted up to the maximum period shown in the table below: -

Duration of the course Duration of visa OSHC period
10 months or longer and finishing at the end of the Australian academic year (November–December) Your visa will usually be granted to March 15 of the following year. If your course is from 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2020 (11 months), your visa will be granted to 15 Mar the following year. And you want to arrive in Australia two weeks prior to 1 January 2020.

In this example your OSHC date would be 15 December 2019 to 15 March 2021
10 months or longer (finishing January–October) ​Your visa will usually be granted for two months longer than the duration of your course. If your course is from 1 January 2020 to 1 October 2020, add two months to the course end date. And you want to arrive in Australia two weeks prior to 1 January 2020.

In this example your OSHC date would be 15 December 2019 to 1 December 2020
Less than 10 months ​Your visa will usually be granted for one month longer than the duration of your course. If your course is from
1 January 2020 to 1 September 2020, add one month to the course end date. And you want to arrive in Australia two weeks prior to 1 January 2020.In this example your OSHC date would be 15 December 2019 to 1 October 2020
 Source: Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs. 
Can I use another name to purchase OSHC?
You must enter your name as per shown in your passport. OSHC certificate of purchase will be required as part of your visa application so ensure both passport and OSHC certificate shown the same name.

Can I get a refund if my visa is denied?
In the event that you get a visa refusal, you will be granted a 100% refund on your OSHC purchase. You will need to contact your OSHC provider and show them a copy of the denial letter you received from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.

What should I do if my family grows?
If you have a child after you arrive in Australia, and you only have a couple OSHC policy, you must switch to a family policy. If any family members join you after your arrival in Australia, they will have to demonstrate that they have an OSHC policy for the duration of their visas.

How do I make a claim?
You can make a claim via your OSHC provider online services or mobile app after receiving your treatment in hospital and/or visiting a doctor. Alternatively, you can send a copy of your receipt by mail, hand in to an on-campus facility or at your OSHC providers store front. If the claim is approved, the money is usually credited to your preferred bank account or credit union account within a few days.

What happens to my OSHC if I leave Australia?
Your OSHC will end on the day you leave Australia, the day you no longer hold a Student Visa, or on the expiry date shown on your Certificate of Insurance, whichever happens first.

However, if you leave Australia on a holiday but return before the expiry date shown on your Certificate of Insurance and you still hold a current Student Visa when you return, your OSHC will resume on your return to Australia and continue for the remaining period of your cover.

If you go home earlier than expected for any reason, you can get a refund for the remaining cover period.

How do I renew my OSHC?
If your OSHC expires before the end of your student visa, it is your responsibility to ensure that you renew your OSHC. You can renew your policy online via credit card payment or at OSHC providers store front. Please contact your provider for more information.

What if I cancel my OSHC?
By cancelling your insurance, you are not meeting the student visa conditions. As such, you are at risk for your visa to be cancelled and it might be hard for you to get a new visa in the future.


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