OSHC is a health insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. OSHC will also pay limited benefits for pharmaceuticals and ambulance services.
For the purposes of OSHC, 'overseas student' means:
a person who is the holder of a student visa; or
a person who:
is an applicant for a student visa; and
is the holder of a bridging visa; and
was immediately before being granted the bridging visa, the holder of a student visa.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship requires overseas students to maintain OSHC for the duration of time they are in Australia. For further information please visit the Department of Immigration & Border Protection website.
What does OSHC cover?
OSHC provides a safety net for international students. It includes cover for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatment, ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals (medicines). OSHC insurers can provide a range of different OSHC products. These may range from a basic product which covers only the compulsory minimum services to comprehensive products which cover, in addition to the compulsory minimum services, extra services as specified under the particular policy. At a minimum, each OSHC product must include cover for:
the benefit amount listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for out-of-hospital medical services (for example, a general practitioner)
100 per cent of the MBS fee for in-patient medical services (for example, surgery)
public hospital shared ward accommodation
private hospital shared ward accommodation (only for hospitals that have contractual arrangements with the overseas student's health insurer)
day surgery accommodation
some prosthetic devices
pharmaceutical benefits up to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 a year for a single membership ($600 for a family membership). Overseas students may face significant out of pocket costs if they do not have appropriate coverage for treatment with pharmaceuticals, particularly oncology (cancer) treatment.