Complete Guide to know about OSHC for International Students in Australia 

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Students who plan to study in Australia are more concerned about the visa requirement and approval and how to adjust to a new country with an approved visa. Since Australia opened its territory after the Covid-19 pandemic when the Australian Government made it necessary to have COVID negative documents, the number of students visiting the country is increasing.  

Everyone, including international students, needs quality health and medical treatment related to optical or just anything. As an international student, one must be well aware of the medical services they would need and what they can get or purchase when living in Australia.

Talking about international students’ health insurance in Australia, the Department of Health offers Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). In this blog, we will discuss more on the OSHC, health insurers, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on OSHC. 


Why do international students need adequate health insurance in Australia? 

Although often a very rewarding experience, studying in Australia or any other country can be both daunting and expensive. However, the Australian Government, on your arrival, gives you benefits in the form of health insurance. With appropriate international student health insurance, it ensures international students are capable of receiving quality health care in Australia. 


Which part of Government is responsible for insurance in Australia? 

The Australian Government Department of Health and aged-care talks about insurance, which is included in the Australian health system to provide quality, safe and affordable health care for all.

Insurance in Australia is mainly divided into Medicare vs private health insurance, where the majority of Australians have access to Medicare, a universal healthcare system, whereas private health insurance offers insurance plans for protection against a range of medical costs and healthcare options. If you are an international student, then you can have private insurance, and your first priority should be OSHC. 


What is OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover)? 

OSHC stands for Overseas Student Health Cover. So, an OSHC, the student visa health insurance, is compulsory insurance needed for foreign students to have access to health care without experiencing financial hardship.

If you are a student from overseas on a temporary student visa, it is a mandatory requirement in your visa to have health insurance. This means the Department of Home Affairs requires you-the overseas student, to maintain OSHC for the duration of your stay in Australia.

Thus, you must purchase an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and renew it to prevent any issues for your visa-related work in future.  

Benefits of OSHC 

  • OSHC assists international students in meeting the costs of medical and hospital care they may need in Australia. 
  • OSHC also offers services related to an ambulance and limited pharmaceuticals. 
  • OSHC covers Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related illnesses, mostly the clinical categories. 

But if you no longer depend on a Student Visa (Subclass 500) holder, you will need to seek other health insurance options. You will need to renew your health insurance. As soon as the insurance company receives your renewal request and payment, the insurance policy or documents will be emailed to you. 


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What about OSHC policies? 

OSHC policies mainly have 3 scenarios: 

  • Singles cover: It is for one person, i.e. the student. 
  • Couples cover: It covers the student and their spouse or, de facto, partner. 
  • Family cover: It covers the student, their spouse or de facto partner, and the student’s children under the age of 18 living with them in Australia and must be on a student visa. 
  • Single parent family cover: It is cover for the student and their dependent children who are under 18, living with them in Australia and listed on the student visa. 

Here, OSHC does not cover students’ extended family members such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters. 


Frequently asked questions on OSHC. 

Why do you need health insurance to get an Australian Visa? 

Australia has some of the strictest health standards in the world. To maintain these standards, visitors, students, and workers from outside Australia must meet minimum health requirements in order to obtain a visa. 


What is eligibility for OSHC? 

If you are an overseas student, then you are eligible for OSHC.  


Do all international students in Australia need to buy OSHC? 

As per the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, all individuals with a student visa and their dependents must have OSHC; however, there are some exceptions for Belgian, Swedish and Norwegian students. 

  • Belgians Students don’t have to purchase OSHC since they are covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement. 
  • Swedish Students’ health is covered by the National Board of Student Air or by Kammarkollegiet. 
  • Norwegian Student’s health insurance is covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. 


When should I get an OSHC? 

In general, you must own a valid OSHC from a fortnight before the start date of your study in Australia until two to three months after the end of your study; the time period depends on the dates of your studies. 


How long will OSHC be provided? 

Your OSHC must cover the whole time of your visa length. Your student visa can be granted up to the maximum duration of 10 months or less, Over 10 months ending January – October, Over 10 months ending November – December. 


Can OSHC help in an emergency? 

You can go directly to a hospital’s emergency department in an emergency situation. Before this kind of incident occurs, it is recommended to locate the closest public hospital and establish with your OSHC provider how much hospital bills will be paid. 


Can I change my OSHC carrier? 

According to the Ministry of Health, you can change OSHC insurance carriers at any moment. For this, valid evidence of the new policy you are transferring to your current OSHC provider is needed. You can have a refund if you transfer providers after already paying your initial premium. But you will be charged a refund processing fee. 

If you are not satisfied with your OSHC provider, you can always switch them. But you may be fined or charged with some money for making abrupt changes. 


Who are the OSHC providers? 

There are 5 major OSHC insurance providers in 2022. They are 

  • Allianz 
  • Bupa 
  • CBHS 
  • Medibank 
  • nib. 


Brief description of OSHC providers in Australia 

Allianz Care, a part of Allianz Group operating in more than 70 countries around the world, is an OSHC provider in Australia helping international students. They have their products and services accessible online, over the phone, via health and safety apps and face-to-face. 

Bupa is a health insurer in Australia focusing on health insurance, health provision (this includes dental, clinics, hospitals, GP services and digital healthcare services) and aged care. An interesting thing about Bupa is that they have founders who were medical professionals who emphasized quality care, and service still drives everything we do. 

Your Visa’s health insurance requirements can be satisfied by Medibank’s Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). They are Visa compliant and provide your insurance certificate online. Medibank awarded Canstar’s ‘Outstanding Value’ for Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) 2022. 

With Nib, another OSHC insurer, you can obtain your OSHC Confirmation Certificate. Also, Nib received the Outstanding Value Award for Overseas Student Health Cover 2021 from Canstar, the largest financial comparison site in Australia. Nib also acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

By purchasing health insurance, international students, visitors, and employees can benefit from CBHS’s excellent care. You can receive an OSHC at CBHS in addition to medical advice, inpatient hospital care and lodging, emergency transportation, and consultations with doctors. Additionally, CBHS offers its members simplified claims processes, value for money, exceptional service, and access to inexpensive healthcare. 

Moreover, International students must do good research and compare the offers to choose cheap health insurance from OSHC providers. 


What do OSHC providers not cover under the OSHC? 

OSHC providers do not cover you for ancillary medical services, such as: 

  • Those treatments that are not covered by Medicare or approved by the Medical Services Advisory Committee 
  • cosmetic surgery 
  •  IVF and assisted reproductive services 
  •  repatriation 
  • Any Non-emergency ambulance transportation 
  •  treatments received outside of Australia 
  • Additional services like dental exams, physiotherapy, chiropractic, and podiatry consultations. 
  • Experimental treatment 


Why buy Private health insurance and Travel insurance along with OSHC? 

To cover expenses that your OSHC does not cover, you might want to think about getting private health insurance in addition to your OSHC. You can purchase other private health insurance to protect your entire family or just yourself. Australia’s travel sector is well-known for its reliability, but unanticipated problems like delayed flights, misplaced luggage, or other mishaps can sometimes happen.

In these situations, travel insurance can be useful. Additionally, it covers accidents and missing flights. You can plan it through airlines, travel booking sites, and travel insurance providers. 


At Bright College, we always ask students to have their OSHC from reliable insurers to enjoy a range of different OSHC products. Here, at Bright College, we offer quality education in our Business Courses, Community Services Courses, and first aid courses for Australian and International students. 

Contact us for further queries on our courses and studies. 

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