Australia has a special health insurance coverage for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). OSHC is insurance designed to help international students cover the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. Because of these requirements, it is important that international students purchase their Australian international student health insurance prior to departing their home country.
Who Must Purchase OSHC?
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship requires that all individuals carrying a student visa and their dependents must maintain OSHC for the full duration of their time in Australia.
There are a few exceptions to this rule:
Belgians StudentsDo not need to purchase OSHC since they are covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement.Swedish StudentsDo not need to purchase OSHC since they are covered under the National Board of Student Air or by Kammarkollegiet. If not covered by either, then Swedish international students will need to purchase OSHC.Norwegian StudentsDo not need to purchase OSHC since they are covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
Who purchases OSHC?
OSHC is purchased either by your education provider or you can choose your own OSHC approved provider and pay the insurance yourself. It’s important that regardless of who purchases it, that you maintain continuous coverage for the entire stay in Australia. This especially applies for students who are studying through two different institutions who organize the insurance on the international student’s behalf.
Which insurers offer OSHC?
Currently, there are 5 insurers that offer OSHC which can be purchased through your academic institution or directly on your own:
- Australian Health Management
- BUPA Australia
- Medibank Private
- Allianz Global Assistance (subcontracted by Lysaght People care)
- nib OSHC
What does OSHC cover?
The OSHC plan is designed to provide coverage for international students seeking treatment at a doctor’s office, hospital, or for limited prescription drugs. Coverage will vary based on the plan you purchase so it’s important to contact each OSHC provider to ensure that you get the coverage you need.
You will want to ask about waiting periods, exclusions, and other limitations on the plan. The OSHC insurance plan will not cover any treatment arranged in advance of arrival to Australia, treatment to and from Australia, as well as transportation into or out of Australia. OSHC does not typically cover dental, optical or physiotherapy either.