Student Visa Health Insurance
Tick one more thing off your list – get cheap OSHC for studying in Australia.
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Compare OSHC visa compliant options
What is OSHC?
OSHC is a type of health insurance designed specifically for international students who are studying in Australia. You can get different levels of cover to include additional treatments but a basic policy includes hospital accommodation and GP visits. Many health funds in Australia will also offer more comprehensive policies that cover a wider range of treatments which include out-of-hospital services such as optical and dental.
What do I get with OSHC?
To keep things simple and cost-effective for you, each insurer usually only offers 1 basic OSHC option that covers these services:
Your insurer will pay up to 100% of your hospital costs as long as your policy lists the treatment as covered. You may get less if you use a hospital that doesn't have a partnership with your insurer.
Your insurer will pay up to 100% of the amount that the Federal Government has determined that standard GP consultation should cost (you'll pay any difference if your provider charges more).
Prescriptions, x-rays and bloodwork
You'll usually get a set yearly dollar amount that you can apply toward prescriptions and up to 85% for specialist service costs including X-rays and bloodwork.
Emergency ambulance rides
Your insurer will pay up to 100% of your ambulance rides in an emergency. If it's not an emergency, you'll be responsible for the cost.
Some insurers will have a second option that is available only to students of select universities that they have partnered with. These plans will cover the same types of services as the plans they offer to the public, but with slightly better rates or increased benefit limits.
How are treatments like dental covered?
Most OSHC policies don't include dental cover since it's not required as part of your visa. However, you can get a separate policy called extras insurance that covers many non-hospital treatments like dental, optical and physio.
You can find plans that cover general dental treatments like cleanings, X-rays and simple fillings, or you can upgrade to a plan that includes major dental work like root canals, complex fillings and crowns.
You can choose from any extras policy in the Australian market and you'll hold this type of cover in addition to your OSHC policy.
What is not included with OSHC?
Keep in mind that you'll probably be unable to claim for a number of medical services and treatments under your student health insurance policy. Common exclusions include:
- Treatments not covered by the Australian public health system
- Treatment you require while travelling to or from Australia
- Claims for treatment costs that could otherwise be covered by compensation or damages
- Cosmetic surgery
- Any treatments you have arranged before travelling to Australia
- Non-emergency ambulance transportation
- Transportation of an overseas student (or their dependant) into or out of Australia
- IVF and assisted reproduction services
Who needs OSHC?
Generally, everyone with a Subclass 500 Student Visa needs OSHC. Condition 8501 on the Department of Home Affairs website says that, "You must have and maintain adequate health insurance for the whole of your stay in Australia."
OSHC is designed to meet your visa's criteria and covers you as long as your premiums are paid and you're enrolled as a full-time student. When you take out OSHC, the insurer will email you a confirmation certificate which you can attach to your visa application.
Coming with your partner or spouse? They're covered too!
If you're travelling to Australia on a Subclass 500 Student Visa with your partner or spouse, they will also need cover. Good news is, you can apply for a couples policy to make sure you're compliant with the visa requirements.
Is OSHC mandatory for all nationalities?
You're not required to have OSHC if you're a student from Belgium, Norway or Sweden. Under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) that Australia has with those nations, you'll be able to claim benefits for certain medical treatment under the public health system called Medicare.
- Belgian students. The benefits provided by the RHCA in place between Australia and Belgium is considered adequate health insurance. No student health insurance is needed to satisfy your visa requirements.
- Norwegian students. As with Belgium, the RHCA between Australia and Norway satisfies the student visa health insurance requirements.
- Swedish students. Health insurance is not required for Swedish students provided they are covered by a policy from the CSN (Swedish National Board of Student Aid) or the Kammarkollegiet (Swedish Legal, Financial and Administration Agency).
Be aware that if you are a student from any of the other countries Australia has an RHCA with, this does not exempt you from needing to take out OSHC.
How to compare OSHC options
Since OSHC is a requirement for a student visa, all insurers must provide you with minimum levels of cover for it to be compliant with your visa condition. This means that when comparing OSHC options, rather than cover levels, price is one of the main comparison points.
Below is a cost comparison for 1 year of cover for a single 25-year-old coming to Australia to study with cover for 12 months.
|Health Insurer||The annual cost of cover*|
|Allianz Global Assistance||$529.00|
*Prices correct at time of writing (5 January 2021) and subject to change
The costs above are for the basic cover option that just satisfies your visa requirements. Some funds, such as Medibank, offer comprehensive options that provide cover in addition to these minimum standards, and have benefits for private psychology and repatriation costs.
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