OSHC – Overseas Student Health Cover

Essential if you want to study in Australia

As an international student in Australia, you are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your study in Australia.

Achievers International helps student to purchase their OSHC at affordable charges by Comparing all Australian Government-approved providers in one place, buy your policy and have it in minutes.

International students undertaking formal studies in Australia, and their dependents (for example, spouses and children under 18 years old), must obtain OSHC. It includes cover for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatment, ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals (medicines). OSHC insurers can provide a range of different OSHC products. These may range from a basic product which covers only the compulsory minimum services to comprehensive products which cover, in addition to the compulsory minimum services, extra services as specified under the particular policy.

OSHC is a product designed to assist international students meet the costs of medical treatment they may need while studying in Australia. It has been mandated by the Australian government that all international students in Australia, with a few exceptions, must have an OSHC policy for the duration of their Student Visa.

Primarily, OSHC provides for payments up to the current Medical Benefits Schedule. Essentially, this means that international students receive similar medical cover to Australian residents under their OSHC policies. The cover is base-level cover only.

The Australian medical landscape has two streams, public and private. Public healthcare is generally provided free of charge to Australians although more and more medical practitioners are pricing their services above the MBS, meaning a “gap” fee will need to be paid. In the private system, doctors essentially charge what the market will pay. As you would expect, generally service is better in the private health system. Having said that, for the most part, the private health system uses the same facilities as the public health system – in Australia going private is usually a choice related to access to medical personnel, rather than gaining access to medical facilities.

At a minimum, OSHC policies must cover the following:

  • the benefit amount listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for out-of-hospital medical services (for example, a general practitioner)
  • 100 per cent of the MBS fee for in-patient medical services (for example, surgery)
  • public hospital shared ward accommodation
  • private hospital shared ward accommodation (only for hospitals that have contractual arrangements with the overseas student’s health insurer)
  • day surgery accommodation
  • some prosthetic devices
  • Pharmaceutical benefits up to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 a year for a single membership ($600 for a family membership). Overseas students may face significant out of pocket costs if they do not have appropriate coverage for treatment with pharmaceuticals, particularly oncology (cancer) treatment.
  • Ambulance services.

OSHC policies cannot cover the following expenses:

  • arranged before coming to Australia
  • needed while travelling to or from Australia
  • transportation of an overseas student or dependent into or out of Australia for any reason
  • Covered by provisions for compensation and damages.

Students must obtain OSHC cover for the duration of their proposed student visa. If you extend your visa, you must renew your OSHC policy.