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What’s a specialist?

OSHCstudents – If you’re planning to visit a specialist, see all things you need to know about a specialist to best prepare for your appointment.

A medical specialist is a doctor who has completed advanced education and training in a specific area of medicine, such as gynaecology, cardiology or orthopaedic surgery. In fact, there’s specialists for almost all areas of medicine.

How do I see a specialist?

As a public patient, if you need to visit a specialist, you’d usually be referred by your GP to a public clinic, and be assigned a specialist.

If you’re choosing to be a private patient, you’ll generally get a referral from your GP (or local doctor). This referral letter doesn’t need to be made out to a particular specialist, however it does need to be dated, signed and include any relevant information to qualify for a Medicare rebate.

What to consider when choosing a specialist?

  • Who your GP recommends
  • Experience they may have with your treatment or condition/s, along with outcomes they’ve achieved for their patients
  • What hospitals they practice at
  • Any recommendations from friends or family who may have needed a similar treatment
  • Any costs that they may charge
  • Whether they will participate in any medical gap schemes your insurer may have in place?

Prepare for your specialist appointment

Prepare for your specialist appointment by making a list of what you want to discuss, including your symptoms and how long you’ve had them, any medication you’re taking (including vitamins and herbal supplements) and any recent medical appointments or treatments. It’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about your family history, too.

Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • What is your diagnosis?
  • What treatment do they recommend?
  • How effective is the recommended treatment?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • What experience do they have with the treatment, and what outcomes have they delivered when providing the treatment?
  • What sort of care will you need at home afterward?
  • What fees will they charge?

Things to take to your appointment:

  • Your GP referral letter
  • Any test results and/or scans
  • Your Medicare card
  • Any concession cards
  • Your private health insurance card (if you have one)

Can I get a second opinion?

If you decide (for whatever reason) that you’d prefer not to use the specialist you’ve been referred to, or you’re just not sure, you’re entitled to seek a second opinion from another specialist.

If you do want a second opinion, you will need another GP referral for a different specialist. Make sure you speak to your GP about your reasons why you’d like a second opinion, so they can help find the right specialist for you.

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: Bupa)

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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

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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

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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!

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