In Australia, international students can access healthcare services through Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), an insurance to cover the cost of medical bills while in Australia. Meant to reduce your financial spending in healthcare, the OSHC is required even by family members accompanying you.
However, do keep in mind that the OSHC covers just some medical expenses. These include
- Visits to the doctor (General Practitioners)
- Public hospital shared ward accommodation
- Private hospital shared ward accommodation (if in contractual agreements with the insurer)
- Ambulance services
- Some prosthetic devices
- Day surgery accommodation
- Limited pharmaceuticals (medicines) of up to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 a year for a single membership
Currently there are six OSHC insurers approved by the Government of Australia to offer OSHC policies and products, i.e.
- Australian Health Management (AHM OSHC, offered through Medibank Private Limited)
- CBHS International Health
- Peoplecare Health Limited (Allianz Global Assistance offers OSHC products and policies under an arrangement with Peoplecare)
- BUPA HI Pty Ltd (Australia)
- Medibank Private Limited
- Nib Health Funds Limited
Here are the various ways you can buy the OSHC
- Through the Overseas Student’s educational institution; or
- Direct from the Insurer by visiting the Insurers’ websites; or
- Through migration agents; or
- Through education agents acting as intermediaries on behalf of the Education Institution; or
- In store, if the student switches provider whilst in country; or
- In another way the Insurer makes their policies available for purchase
Most universities and education providers have a preferred providers who deals with specific insurers. It is recommended that (international) students opt for the preferred providers as sometimes these come with extra benefits.
An important point to note is that the OSHC does not cover dental work. It’s a good idea to have a thorough check-up, dental included before leaving for your global ed destination. If you have cavities – get them filled before you leave (and keep up the flossing!) – Dental aid can be exorbitant.