International Student Health Coverage in Australia
International students in Australia have an exciting opportunity to learn, explore, and expand their horizons in a country rich with natural wonders and highly respected academic institutions amid a wealth of different cultures. Since Australia's national health care system, Medicare, does not cover foreign students, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship requires that all overseas students and their dependents purchase and maintain international health insurance during the duration of their stay. Called the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), this student visa requirement guarantees that all international students will have assistance in paying medical bills and other expenses, including most prescriptions, if they are in need of medical treatment.
No one wants to think about being sick or injured while they are studying and enjoying their time in Australia. International health in Australia policies are required in order to obtain a student visa, but having a health cover also brings peace of mind. Illnesses and accidents don't take holidays. Medical costs can be overwhelming, even for seemingly minor ailments. Being prepared for an illness or accident insures that you will be taken care of if a medical emergency occurs and that the required medical procedures will be covered.
OSHC must be purchased before arriving in Australia. Many academic institutions have prearranged agreements with specific OSHC providers, so check with the school you will be affiliated with to see if they have such an agreement. You may purchase a cover from one of those providers or shop around and find the policy that best fits your needs. Single student or family coverage is available.
A basic OSHC policy meets the student visa requirement, but does not typically cover dental, physiotherapy or optical services. Many OSHC providers offer these extra health options at an additional cost. Auto and home insurance may also be purchased through some OSHC providers. International travelers insurance and private Australian insurers offer additional services as well.
It is important that your OSHC policy not lapse while you are in Australia. The best way to ensure coverage is to buy a policy for the same length of time as shown on your visa. Many OSHC providers offer discounts for paying a specified number of months of coverage in advance.
International Health in Australia OSHC Membership Services
As soon as your policy is active, you will be given a membership card. Typically, the OSHC provider offers a full range of services online, including assistance in finding a medical provider, the ability to file claims, what procedures are covered, and policy renewal. Many providers allow a temporary suspension of an international health in Australia policy when students go home on holiday or must leave the country for four weeks or more. The suspended period is then added to the end of the policy. No claims will paid during an approved suspension.
International health in Australia student coverage is not only required, it's smart. A variety of health options offered by OSHC providers allows international students to find the cover that best suits them while satisfying the student visa requirement. No one expects to become ill or have an accident, but being prepared allows students to enjoy, without worry, everything Australia has to offer.