Australia is a vibrant country known for its outback bush, Koalas, Kangaroos, clean water and air. However, the government has so much more to offer than just that.
Many international students choose Australia to study because of its excellent education system, laid-back nature and high standard of living.
In Australia, International students need to have health insurance. This healthcare program is called the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
So, before you plan to go to Australia for your studies, it is essential to know about this health cover and how it works.
1. What Is OSHC?
OSHC is an acronym for Overseas Student Health Cover. It is special health insurance for international students designed to cover the costs of hospital and medical care that students may require while living and studying in Australia.
2. Who Offers OSHC?
Multiple providers to International students have provided OSHC. Some of the popular insurers are:
Allianz Global also offers OSHC policies under Peoplecare
AHM health insurance is a branch of Medibank.
3. Who Should Purchase OSHC?
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia, individuals carrying a student visa and their dependents (including children under 18) should get OSHC during their stay in Australia.
However, exceptions may apply if you are:
A Belgian student insured with the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement between Belgium and Australia.
A Norwegian student who the Norwegian government already insures.
A Swedish student with international insurance with Kammarkollegiet or the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN).
A New Zealand resident staying in Australia can access Medicare benefits.
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OSHC can be purchased either by your own OSHC provider or your education provider. Regardless of what OSHC you buy, remember to maintain it for your entire stay in Australia.
4. Documents Required
A legal and official deed for the Overseas Students Health Care provisions outlines the rules that health funds must comply with if they want to offer OSHC policies.
5. What Does It Cover?
OSHC policies cover the cost of medical treatment, including hospital, ambulance services etc. It provides complete coverage to International students seeking treatment in hospitals, doctor’s offices and limited prescription drugs.
The coverage depends on the plan you purchase from the OSHC provider.
Note: OSHC doesn’t cover optical, physiotherapy and dental either.
6. Can International Students Select Overseas Provider For OSHC Insurance?
The short answer is ‘No.’ International students cannot use overseas insurers. However, students from selected countries like Sweden, Belgium and Norway can have different arrangements depending on their country’s health scheme.
7. Whom Should You Contact For Assistance Regarding OSHC?
Many international students planning to study in Australia often experience difficulty with their OSHC. If you are also experiencing something similar, contact your insurer first.
And if this issue persists, you can contact the Private Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) - an independent and free service for those facing health insurance problems.
As an OSHC holder, you must always maintain your cover. If you fall behind in renewing or making payments, then you may not be able to claim services while in debt.
If there are any changes in the visa status or Medicare eligibility, contact your insurer and find out if your level of insurance is still suitable.
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