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Best Overseas Student Health Cover for International Students in Australia

If you’re heading or are already in Australia to study to then this guide can help you select an overseas student health cover that won’t break your bank.

Do I need to get a Overseas Student Health Cover?

We all need Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) while studying here in Australia. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a health insurance in Australia for international students.

Typically, individuals holding a Subclass 500 Student Visa are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). As stated on the Department of Home Affairs website under Condition 8501, it is mandated that, “You must possess and sustain adequate health insurance throughout your time in Australia.”

Moreover, it gives coverage for medical expenses, hospitalization, and other healthcare services during their stay. It complies with visa requirements. It is not just a formality; it is a lifeline as well. It gives us access to necessary healthcare services without the stress of huge bills.

The most amazing thing I noted about OSCH is that it only offers policies to fulfil international students’ visa requirements, as demanded by the Australian Government. The best thing about it I came across is that you can buy OSHC for the intended duration of your Student Visa in Australia. This means you are not charged more than your stay. What could be better than this? Nothing, right? 

What are included in the overseas students health cover?

The documentation required to open a bank account in Australia may vary slightly between banks, but generally, you will need the following:

  • Doctor’s visits: You can visit a GP for consultation with your OSHC policy. Additionally, you can have specialist visits, for example, X-rays of blood work, where you will be able to claim up to 85% of the MBS fee. 
  • Hospital treatments: Accidents and emergencies are covered by OSHC policy at a minimum of 100% as specified by each state and territory in the world. Emergency services may be such as surgery. 
  • Prescription medications: You will have 100% coverage of the Medicare Benefits Scheme fee under OSHC policy. 
  • Emergency ambulance service:  Many of the OSHC policies have emergency on-the-spot treatment coverage or emergency coverage. For instance, if you order an ambulance and it is not considered an emergency, then OSHC does not cover that. 
  • What is more is that OSHC will be able to cover dependents, such as a spouse or children, accompanying international students on a student visa in Australia. It should be noted that coverage details may vary among providers. 

Nevertheless, it is important to know that there are limitations and exclusions. That is why we should always check what is included in our policy.

What are NOT included in the overseas students health cover?

Please bear in mind that there are several medical services and treatments that may not be covered by your student health insurance policy. These exclusions typically include:

  1. Services not covered by the Australian public health system.
  2. Treatment needed while traveling to or from Australia.
  3. Claims for treatment expenses that could be covered by compensation or damages.
  4. Cosmetic surgery.
  5. Any treatments arranged prior to traveling to Australia.
  6. Non-emergency ambulance transportation.
  7. Transportation of an overseas student (or their dependents) into or out of Australia.
  8. IVF and assisted reproduction services.

Who requires OSHC?

Typically, individuals holding a Subclass 500 Student Visa are required to have OSHC. As stated under Condition 8501 on the Department of Home Affairs website, it is mandated that, “You must possess and sustain adequate health insurance throughout your time in Australia.”

OSHC is tailored to meet your visa’s specifications and provides coverage as long as your premiums are paid and you remain enrolled as a full-time student. Upon obtaining OSHC, the insurer will send you a confirmation certificate via email, which you can then attach to your visa application.

Is OSHC mandatory for all nationalities?

OSHC is not compulsory for students from Belgium, Norway, or Sweden. Under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) between Australia and these nations, certain medical treatments are covered under the public health system known as Medicare.

For Belgian students, the benefits provided by the RHCA serve as adequate health insurance, eliminating the need for additional student health insurance to meet visa requirements. Similarly, Norwegian students are exempt from needing separate health insurance due to the RHCA. Swedish students are not required to have health insurance as long as they are covered by a policy from the CSN (Swedish National Board of Student Aid) or the Kammarkollegiet (Swedish Legal, Financial, and Administrative Services Agency).

However, students from other countries with which Australia has an RHCA are still required to obtain OSHC to meet visa requirements.

Health insurance stands as a critical aspect of our experience as international students in Australia. Beyond being a mere necessity, it ensures our well-being, security, and unwavering focus on academic pursuits. Thus, it’s important to ensure we are adequately covered and prepared to face any challenges that may arise. Don’t wait until the last minute; secure your OSHC policy as soon as you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get my health cover while I’m still overseas?

Absolutely, as long as your have the right documentation you should be able to get your health cover while you’re overseas

Can I transfer or change OSHC companies?

Certainly, you have the flexibility to switch your OSHC provider whenever you wish, though there might be associated charges such as a cancellation fee or a refund processing fee.

Should you decide to change OSHC providers, it’s crucial to avoid any lapses in coverage between the old and new policies. Thus, it’s essential to secure coverage from your new provider before terminating your current policy.

Moreover, any waiting periods you’ve already completed with your current policy will be recognized when transferring your coverage.

Are OSHC tax deductable?

Unfortunetly expenses incurred for OSHC are not tax deductable at this point in time.

Is it mandatory to have an OSHC while studying?

Yes, the Department of Home Affairs requires all overseas students to have and maintain OSHC for their entire stay in Australia. It’s also mandatory for their dependents, including spouses and children under 18.

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