An international student on a temporary student visa must maintain appropriate health insurance for the length of your stay in Australia as it is a requirement of your visa.
If you are in Australia and holding a student visa, you need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and keep your policy up to date. OSHC enables international students to cover the costs of medical and hospital services they may require, when in Australia.
Ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals are also included in OSHC. OSHC does not provide for general treatment, such as dental, optical, or physiotherapy (ancillary or extra cover). Only limited pharmaceutical benefits apply, limited to $50 per pharmaceutical item for a single membership to a maximum of $300 a year.
If you need pharmaceutical treatment, particularly oncology (cancer) treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, you can face significant out-of-pocket costs.
OSHC is provided under a Deed of Agreement with the Department of Health by some insurers, to provide students with adequate health insurance at a reasonable price. OSHC is only provided by a limited number of licensed health insurers, some are listed below:
- AHM OSHC
- Allianz Care Australia (Peoplecare)
- BUPA Australia
- CBHS International Health
- Medibank Private
- NIB OSHC
Claiming for OSHC
Claiming for your OSHC is easy. You can submit claims for your OSHC online or send a mail. Just make sure to keep a copy of your paperwork and receipts in case you need them later, whatever method you use for a claim.
Through Online Member Programs, you can make claims for most medical services you have already paid for here. It's an easy way to make claims and within 2 business days, you usually get payments into your account.
Claiming by mail
To claim via mail, complete the OSHC claim form and send it with your receipts. Also, get a copy of the claim form.
You may find out that a different (or cheaper) level of cover can be offered by another fund than you currently carry. Or, for another reason, you may need to change OSHC providers. As long as you have OSHC and you are meeting your visa requirements you can upgrade or switch your OSHC.
You can only cancel your OSHC if you leave Australia permanently or start a new OSHC membership with a different provider. You can also cancel your OSHC if you finish your course early or withdraw from your studies to return home. When you apply for PSW you need to have OVHC (Overseas Visitor Health Cover). You may also request a refund if you cancel your OSHC cover.