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How to access the Australian healthcare system as a foreigner

OSHCstudents – Getting sick or injured in a new country can be confusing and scary, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to go or what to do. If you are in Australia on a student, visitor, or working visa, you may not qualify for Medicare. If this is the case, OSHC/OVHC can help meet the costs of medical and hospital treatment in Australia. 



How to access the Australian healthcare system as a foreigner?

If you are an international student in Australia, purchasing Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a compulsion to maintain health insurance for as long as your stay.  An individual will need OSHC before applying for Australian Student visa.

OVHC is the health insurance provided to visitors and temporary workers to access health care on your budget. You should also purchase this before applying for the visa.

Having OSHC/OVHC is compulsory for foreigners to access health care in Australia.

Do I have to pay to see a general practitioner doctor?

If you don’t have OSHC/OVHC, and you’re not covered by Medicare you will have to pay.

If you do have OVHC, most Overseas Health Covers for visitors will pay a benefit towards the costs of seeing a GP. When a GP charges more than the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee (the set government fee), you will be left with an out-of-pocket expense. To minimize any out-of-pocket expenses, attend a bulk billing clinic (which is a clinic where the GPs charge the MBS fee) and always ask about any potential “out-of-pocket expenses” before your appointment. Out-of-pocket expenses are the difference between what you pay, and what your insurance will pay for.

If you hold OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover), you can visit GPs or Direct Billing Clinics. These clinics have an agreement with insurance providers to send the bill directly to your insurance providers. This is to help reduce or eliminate the upfront payment you would normally be required to make at the time of your appointment. Depending on the Doctor you see, you may on occasion experience an ‘out-of-pocket’ expense that your insurer does not cover. Please ensure you confirm any ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses you may have to pay prior to your consultation by contacting the direct billing clinic. Remember to take your OSHC membership card or digital card and photo identification, such as your student ID card, to your next appointment.

What is direct billing?

Direct billing is an arrangement between a health insurance provider and a doctor (or other medical facility), where the doctor sends bills for services directly to your health insurance company.

Direct billing network includes local doctors (GPs) and specialists who submit your claims to insurance providers directly. The insurance providers organize payments to be made directly to them, giving you a seamless electronic process, which means you don’t have to fill out paperwork to process your claim.

Please note: MBS fees will be charged following the terms of some insurance providers. You should always check with your provider if they a gap fee before incurring any costs.

You are international students or foreigners arrive to Australia, or Australian citizens traveling abroad who are looking for OSHC, OVHC, travel insurance, please contact OSHCstudents Team at email: info@oshcstudents.com and our partners for further information and assistance.

OSHCstudents(source: Medibank)

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Baek Ah Yeon

I trust Allianz Care since it is one of the largest insurance companies in Australia, with the medical centres where I only have to pay for what is left from insurance support. (no need to claim later). Besides, those centres are located at the centre of the city, close to schools. Very convenient, right? Credits to Allianz Care for providing reliable medical centres for health check and treatments.

Baek Ah Yeon | University of Queensland

Ariella Pei

I’ve been living with homestay family for 2 years. I’m now 19, I can move out but I don’t want to leave my host, who has become my family. It feels like I’ve met my second family. Thanks OSHCstudents for sending me to this homestay!

Ariella Pei | University of Canberra

Chatchawat Paton

I realised how important insurance was when I started living in Australia. There I switched to using Allianz Care instead of the previous service. Allianz Care is extraordinarily good in its consulting service and customer care. I’ve learned a lot about Australian health care, also I was consulted with mental issues and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I am very happy now.

Chatchawat Paton | Torrent University

Phuong Anh

Having lived in Australia for 2 years, I’ve been reliant on AHM OSHC to pay for my health care, which supports me for other expenses. Last year, I sent my claim requests for several times and always received the claims within two days. Everything is easy, fast and simple.

Phuong Anh | Victoria University

Xiaoyu Cheng

Thanks to Allianz Care, every time I claimed my medical receipts it processed much more quickly and easily than I expected. I was initially a bit concerned since Allianz Care is more expensive than other insurance companies, but now I can ensure that it is totally worth the money.

Xiaoyu Cheng | Monash University


My homestay was very comfortable and convenient. My host was really kind. He showed me where to shop, which buses to catch, where the nearest train station is, to get off at which station so that I wouldn’t be taken to another suburb. Travelling was easy since the place was close to public transports. It only took 30 minutes to get to my college, actually I could go anywhere easily!

Emma | Macquarie University

Jing Zhang

When told that I was going to live with an Italian family, I was pretty nervous and doubted whether or not they could speak English well as the local people? Yet it was no longer a problem when I saw them. They knew the problems of people who first came to Australia and always tried to help me. I learned so many things about both Australian and Italian culture and enjoyed tasty Italian meals every time. Awesome!

Jing Zhang | Griffith University

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