How does health insurance work for international students?

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is insurance that helps cover the cost of medical care for international students while they are living in Australia, which in some instances, applies to pharmaceuticals and ambulance services. It is a mandatory requirement for all student visa holders in Australia. International students must maintain OSHC for the duration of their student visa, as do any family members, such as partners and children. 

In the context of the OSHC, an overseas student constitutes anyone that holds a student visa or someone who has applied for a student visa, holds a bridging visa and has, prior to receiving their bridging visa, held a student visa. 

Who provides OSHC? 

There are multiple providers that can offer OSHC to international students. These private health insurers include:

  • Peoplecare*
  • BUPA 
  • Medibank 
  • Australian Health Management**
  • nib 

*Allianz Global Assistance offers OSHC policies under an arrangement with Peoplecare

**ahm health insurance is a business of Medibank

What documentation is required? 

A deed for the provision of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is an official, legally binding document that outlines the rules that domestic health funds must comply with if they wish to provide OSHC policies. 

Is it acceptable to use an overseas provider for OSHC insurance? 

International students cannot use overseas insurers, a protocol that allows the Federal Government to regulate those living temporarily in Australia. Students from select countries, such as Norway, Beligum and Sweden, may have different arrangements based on their own national schemes.

Who can be contacted if assistance is required? 

International students experiencing trouble with their OSHC should get in touch with their insurer first and foremost. If the problem cannot be resolved, students should contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO), a free, independent service that helps those with health insurance-related issues and enquiries.

For further information, visit the Department of Health’s Overseas Student Health Cover FAQ page

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