Student Health Cover (OSHC) Explained: A Complete Guide

A doctor explains to international students studying in Australia how important the Student Overseas health cover is (OSHC).


Australia is a vibrant country known for its outback bush, Koalas, Kangaroos, clean water and air. However, the country has so much more to offer than just that.


Many international students are choosing Australia to study because it has an excellent education system, laid-back nature and high-standard of living.


In Australia, it is important for International students to have health insurance. This health care program is referred to as the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).


So, before you plan to go to Australia for your studies, it is important 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 offer OSHC?


OSHC has been provided by multiple providers to International students. 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 Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia, individuals who are carrying a student visa and their dependents (including children under 18) should get OSHC while their stay in Australia.


However, exceptions may apply if you are:


  • A Belgian student who is insured by the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement between Belgium and Australia.

  • A Norwegian student who is already insured by Norwegian Government.

  • A Swedish student who has an international insurance with Kammarkollegiet or the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN).

  • A New Zealand resident staying in Australia can access Medicare benefits.

  • Sponsored by DFAT, defence

  • An Endeavour award holder


OSHC can be purchased either by your own OSHC provider or your education provider. Regardless of what OSHC you purchase, remember it is important to maintain it for your entire stay in Australia.



4. Documents required


A legal and official deed for the Overseas Students Health Care provisions that 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 a complete coverage to International students seeking treatment in hospital, doctor’s office and for 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, but students from selected countries like Sweden, Belgium and Norway can have different arrangements depending on their country’s health scheme.



7. Whom you should contact for assistance regarding OSHC?


Many international students who are planning to study in Australia often experience difficulty with their OSHC. If you are also experiencing something similar, then you should contact your insurer first.


And, if this issue still persists, you can get in touch with the Private Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) - an independent and a free service for those who are facing problems with their health insurance.


As an OSHC holder, you have to maintain your cover at all times. If you fall behind in renewing or making payments, then you may not be able to claim for services while being 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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