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Healthcare and insurance for international students in Australia

Health Insurance in Australia

The Australian health insurance system is as impressive as the country itself. Healthcare availability in Australia has been steadily enhancing. The life expectancy for men and women in Australia is one of the highest among all the developed countries. Before studying abroad, it's crucial to get familiar with the country's health insurance system. This way, if you become suddenly ill or injured, insurance has got you protected.

Health Care for International Students in Australia

If you are an international student going to study in Australia for education, you need to purchase any one of these health insurance coverages:

1) A private insurance policy for short-term programs

2) Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for long study periods

a) Private insurance policy:

International students in Australia may study while holding a tourist visa for a course lasting three months or less. For such students, private health insurance is recommended. Plans can be tailored to protect just you, or you may extend coverage to any dependents who are living with you during your time studying abroad in Australia. Insurance costs and eligibility can differ significantly among funds and insurance policies, so when purchasing international student insurance, make sure you do your breakdown to be sure that the policy you purchase is best suited to your individual needs.

b) Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC):

If you wish to study in Australia for more than three months, a student visa is required, along with an Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC). It is one of the compulsory requirements of your student visa. Having an active up-to-date insurance policy is required for your entire stay duration in Australia. It covers the costs of doctor visits, hospital charges, ambulance service, and some prescribed medications.

Keeping aside the fact that OSHC is a mandatory condition to study in Australia, it is also one of the smart investments you can make, as medical expenses in Australia are costlier compared to several other countries.

Visitors to Australia under a student visa (except for students from Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden) are required to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) during their stay.

Australia's national health insurance program, Medicare, covers a significant amount of the costs associated with healthcare services for most Australians. Medicare covers you if you are in Australia on a student visa from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, or New Zealand. Medicare does not cover other international students, but OSHC allows them access to healthcare without financial hardship. Students visiting Australia from Norway, Finland, Malta, and the Republic of Ireland are not covered by their country's mutual healthcare pact with Australia.

c) Cost of OSHC:

The Australian Government's Department of Health has authorised the following health funds to offer OSHC:

  • NIB OSHC
  • Allianz Care Australia (Peoplecare)
  • ahm OSHC
  • Medibank Private
  • BUPA Australia
  • CBHS International Health

The cost of OSHC varies depending on the type of coverage required. The lowest cost of minimum cover is around AUD 478 for 12 months for an individual (as of September 2021). You can have your OSHC organised for you by your educational institution or purchase it online through the official OSHC provider's website. It would be best if you spoke to the various OSHC providers before taking the cover to ensure that the level of cover you have chosen meets your needs.

Check out AECC Global's OSHC platform that lets you compare plans from top insurance providers in Australia and choose the one that suits your budget and health conditions.

d) What does OSHC cover:

The OSHC plans are integrated to provide coverage for international students seeking treatment at a doctor's office, hospital, or for limited prescription drugs. To ensure that you get the coverage you need, it's important to contact each OSHC provider before you purchase a plan.

Also, inquire about waiting periods, exclusions, and other limitations associated with the plan. The OSHC insurance plan does not cover any treatment outside of Australia, nor will it cover transportation into or out of Australia. OSHC does not generally cover dental, visual, or physiotherapy either.

e) Proof of payment:

Upon completing your application, you will need to provide proof of payment and confirmation that your OSHC coverage begins when you arrive in Australia.

If you have any questions about your visa, university application, or anything related to studying in Australia, get in touch with our guidance counsellors at AECC Global for free!

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