What is OSHC?

Overseas student health cover (OSHC) is health insurance that provides cover for the costs for medical treatment, hospital care, pharmaceuticals and emergency ambulance transport which international students may require while in Australia. It provides you and your family with peace of mind that in the case of illness or injury you and your dependants are financially protected.

Why do international students need OSHC?

If you come to Australia on a student visa, you are required to purchase OSHC as part of your visa condition 8501.  The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) requires all holders of a student visa to maintain OSHC during their stay in Australia.

Medical treatment in Australia can be expensive.  International students are not eligible for Medicare – the Australian government’s public health insurance system.  Without access to Medicare, international students may have difficulty paying for medical treatment.  In some cases, hospital treatment can cost above $600 per day.  OSHC was introduced to ensure international students have adequate health care arrangements during their stay in Australia.  OSHC ensures all international students can access appropriate health care without undue financial hardship.

What does my OSHC policy cover?

OSHC provides a safety net for international students, similar to that provided to Australians through Medicare, Australia’s National Health Care System.

The benefits you receive with your OSHC policy is regulated by the Australian government, you are covered towards the cost for services such as:

  • Doctor’s fees
  • Public hospital fees
  • Pharmaceutical benefits
  • Emergency Ambulance transport

For specific information about OSHC benefits, refer to your OSHC providers policy document.

When does my cover start?

For the majority of commencing students your cover is arranged through your institution prior to your arrival.  Your OSHC commences the day you arrive in Australia.

How do I renew my cover?

The expiry date of your cover is on your membership card.  Remember – It is a condition of your student visa that you maintain your cover for the duration of your visa – make sure you are aware of your expiry date, and renew your cover before it expires. Your OSHC provider will have renewal instructions on their website or you can visit an on campus OSHC representative who can assist with your renewal.

What is visa length cover?

It is a condition of your student visa to hold valid OSHC until the expiry date indicated on your student visa.  This is termed ‘Visa Length Cover’”.  All students applying for a student visa to enter Australia must hold Visa Length Cover. This also applies if you are extending your visa.

How Do I Know If My Health Cover Includes Ambulance Cover?

Students are covered for Emergency Ambulance transport.  This means that they covered when ambulance transport is medically necessary for admission to hospital or for emergency treatment.

OSHC members are covered for 100% of the cost of ambulance transport when provided by an ambulance service in the following situations:

  • It is medically necessary for the student to be admitted to hospital (medically necessary means that, due to the patient’s medical condition, ambulance transport is necessary as they could not be transported by other means).
  • The student needs urgent medical attention at a hospital or other approved facility
  • As an admitted patient, the student wants to be transferred from one hospital to another, e.g. to a hospital closer to home
  • An ambulance is called for the student, but the student subsequently does not need to be taken to a hospital.

What is not covered?

OSHC does not cover a student when an ambulance service is used but it is not medically necessary for a student to be transported in an ambulance.

How do I claim for my medical expenses?

If you attend a health service that has direct billing arrangements with your OSHC provider, you will simply need to present your current OSHC membership card, and in most cases you will not need to pay for your medical service.  Refer to your OSHC provider’s website for details about direct billing medical providers.

If you attend a health service that gives you an invoice or requests payment, you must submit the claim to your OSHC provider for payment.  You can obtain claim forms and claiming instructions from your OSHC provider’s website.


OSHC Providers in WA:

Allianz Global Assistance      www.oshcallianz-assistance.com.au            

Medibank Private       www.medibank.com.au