As an international student coming to Australia to study, you may have heard of something called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This is a health insurance policy that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Australia requires that people migrating here to study take out. The purpose of it is to protect you in case you fall sick on Australian soil and to help you meet the health insurance requirements of visa condition 8501.

Overseas students are generally unable to access the Australian public health system, unless they come from specific countries that are an exception. Australia’s public health system is called Medicare, which is a government-funded health system that provides rebates for certain fairly – common procedures. Because most international students aren’t eligible for Medicare, OSHC ensures that you can receive the medical treatment you’ll need without having to pay too much money out of your own pocket.

How does Australia define overseas students?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection classifies overseas students for health insurance purposes as those who hold a student visa, are currently applying for a student visa or are the holder of a bridging visa but have previously been on a student visa. Whether you’re planning on studying or currently studying at school, university or another institute (such asTAFE), you are required to have OSHC.

Who doesn’t need OSHC?

Students from certain countries (Belgium, Norway and Sweden) should be exempt from needing OSHC. For Belgians and Norwegians, the benefits provided by the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) is considered adequate health protection. Similarly, Swedish students are covered by a policy from the Swedish National Board of Student Aid or the KammarKollegiet.

What’s included in your OSHC policy?

Your health insurance policy must cover:

● The same hospital and out-of- hospital treatments that are covered by the Australian

public health system

● Accommodation for day surgery

● Accommodation in a shared ward or private hospital

● Pharmaceuticals (within an annual limit)

● Emergency ambulance transportation

● Various prosthetic devices if required

So what’s excluded from your policy?

Although OSHC policies do typically provide a large amount of protection, there are some exclusions. These include:

● Treatments not included or covered by the Australian public health system

● Non-emergency ambulance transportation

● Cosmetic surgery

● IVF or other assisted reproduction services

● Any treatments booked before your trip or required during your travel to or from Australia

If you’re thinking of making the move to Australia to study, Overseas Student Health Cover is something that every student needs to take out before they leave in order to meet the requirements of their visa. If you aren’t sure of what direction to take with your health insurance, visit a comparison site online to give you a good idea of the prices involved.

Check here to compare OSHC that meets your student visa health insurance conditions.

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Bessie Hassan is an Insurance Expert at finder.com.au, Australia’s most visited comparison website.