Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is obligatory for foreign students and their dependents in Australia and must cover them for the duration of their visa (or the first 12 months).
It’s provided by a number of insurance companies, including Medibank Private. Your premium, which must be paid before you arrive in Australia, depends on the length of your student visa, up to a maximum 12 months’ cover. If your student visa is for more than 12 months, a further premium is payable after 12 months.
If you’re a government-sponsored student (e.g. by the Australian Agency for International Development/AusAID), the agency or department of the Australian government which is sponsoring you pays your premium to Medibank Private. If you’re a non-government-sponsored student, your premium is usually paid by the school, college or university at which you will be studying (in fact, it’s usually included in your course fees).
OSHC includes full or partial cover for the fees of doctors (including specialists) at a surgery, your home or in hospital, and pathology services such as blood tests and X-rays. Payments are the same as for Medicare members, i.e. 85 percent of the government schedule fee for outpatient treatment and 100 percent of the schedule fee for hospital inpatient services and most GP services.
If a doctor charges more than the schedule fee, you must pay the difference. If you choose to be treated in a private hospital, Medibank Private contributes towards the cost of treatment and accommodation, but you’re responsible for paying the difference between the schedule fee and the actual fee charged. The services that aren’t covered by OSHC are much the same as for Medicare. If you wish to be covered for excluded services, you need additional private health insurance.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Australia.