What is OSHC?
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is designed specifically for international students who are studying in Australia. It helps pay for medical and hospital services and contributes towards the cost of most prescription medicines (up to applicable limits), as well as the cost of eligible ambulance services if you need immediate professional attention and your medical condition is such that you couldn’t be transported any other way.Please note: you can only purchase this cover if you hold a valid student visa, or if you’re in the process of applying for one.
Who needs OSHC?
It is a condition of most student visas to have private health insurance for the full duration of that visa. Medibank OSHC is designed for people who are 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.
Unless you are the holder of a valid student visa, you are not eligible to purchase OSHC from us.
Note:The requirement to have OSHC for the entire length of your student visa applies to overseas students who purchased OSHC on or after 1 July 2010.
However, there are limited exceptions to this requirement to have OSHC for students in certain countries – please see further details below.
Norwegian and Swedish students
Most Norwegian and Swedish students studying in Australia are covered by health insurance arrangements provided by their government, and aren't eligible to join OSHC. However, a Norwegian or Swedish student must take out OSHC if they are not eligible for cover under their own Government's insurance arrangements.
Belgian students studying in Australia aren't required to take out OSHC under the terms of the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) that exists between our two governments. However, OSHC might still be beneficial for these students as it offers a more comprehensive level of cover.
Expatriate Australian students
If you’re an expatriate Australian coming back to Australia on a student visa to undertake formal studies, and you’re not eligible for Medicare, you must take out OSHC for the entire length of your visa.
How long do I need OSHC?
The Australian Government requires you and your dependants to have private health insurance for the duration of your student visa. For more information visit the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website www.immi.gov.au
With Medibank’s OSHC you can choose:
- a cover just for you – a single membership covers the student only
- cover for you and your partner – a couple membership covers the student and their partner as listed on the student's dependant visa
- cover for you and your family – a family membership covers the student and their dependants (such as their partner and any dependent children).
Can I buy my OSHC before I arrive in Australia?
When does my OSHC start?
When you buy your OSHC online, you become a member from the date of your arrival in Australia. You will also be issued with a unique Medibank receipt number. However, if you don’t pay your OSHC premium before your date of arrival, your commencement date will be the date your OSHC premium is first paid.
If you purchase your OSHC while you are already in Australia, it will start on the day you join.
Can I change the date my OSHC starts?
Yes. If you arrive in Australia earlier or later than the date you gave us when you joined, you need to let us know immediately by visiting one of our Medibank stores. Don’t forget to bring your passport and OSHC membership card.
Find a Medibank store
Can I switch my OSHC membership from another health fund to Medibank Private?
Yes, you can transfer your cover to Medibank from any other Australian OSHC insurer. Your period of membership will count towards any waiting periods you may need to serve with Medibank Private OSHC.
If your cover with your last insurer has lapsed or expired, other conditions apply. For more information, contact us or see the OSHC Membership Guide.
What is Online Member Services (OMS)?
When you arrive in Australia you can register for Online Member Services (OMS). OMS allows you to access your personal information and perform online self-services, including updating contact details, downloading brochures and forms, ordering a replacement membership card, paying your premiums and submitting claims for a general practitioner’s services.
It’s important you keep your contact details up to date so you can receive information from us.
Log into OMS now
Find out more about OMS
How do I pay my OSHC premium?
What do I do if my OSHC lapses?
If your cover lapses and you wish to reopen your membership, you will need to pay:
- The value of the premiums that are outstanding for the lapsed period; and
- A premium payment advancing the membership date to the expiry date of your student visa (i.e. visa length health cover).
Remember that you need to maintain your OSHC cover to fulfil the requirements of your student visa.
For further information, please visit a Medibank store.
Find a Medibank store
Can I suspend my OSHC membership?
How do I make a claim?
There are a number of ways you can claim with Medibank.
Medibank has special arrangements with some on-campus medical practices that provide a direct claiming system. Please ask your educational institution for more details.
You can also submit a doctor’s claim online (GP’s only) through our Online Member Services at medibank.com.au. If a benefit is payable we’ll process your claim and, depending on your preference, we’ll either send out a cheque or transfer the money into your nominated bank account.
Note: Extras is not part of your OSHC cover, but if you have purchased an extras cover separately, you can also claim for most extras online.
Complete and sign your claim form and send it to us with your service provider’s account attached, and the receipt (if the account has been paid). You can get a claim form online at medibank.com.au or by calling 134 190.
In person at a Medibank store
Complete and sign a claim form and drop it off at a Medibank store with your service provider’s account attached and a receipt if the account has been paid.
Where you have paid your accounts, we will pay any benefit that you are entitled to, either by sending you a cheque or transferring the money into the membership nominated bank account. Cheques for paid accounts will be sent to the policy holder and a statement will be sent to the claimant where the claimant is aged 16 or over.
Where you haven't paid your accounts, we'll pay the benefit directly to the service provider. You will receive a statement from us detailing the payment made to the provider on your behalf and any associated out-of-pocket costs you will need to pay.
We will send cheques for unpaid out-of-hospital medical accounts to the policy holder and made payable to the service provider. You should then forward the cheque on to the service provider with any outstanding balance.
What happens if I need treatment while I have OSHC cover?
If you need treatment, you can choose any general practitioner you like or if it’s an emergency, go to your nearest hospital. If necessary, the doctor will refer you to a specialist for further treatment. Both specialists and general practitioners may order X-rays or pathology tests.
If you require admission to a hospital, you may choose to be admitted to either a public hospital or a private hospital.
Can I still be covered by OSHC after I finish my studies?
If you’re staying in Australia on another visa after your student visa expires, you’re no longer able to be covered by OSHC. However, Medibank has a range of health covers which will help keep you protected should any unforseen medical circumstances arise.
If you take out another Medibank hospital cover within two months of your OSHC expiring, you won’t have to serve any additional waiting periods for benefits to which you were entitled to under your OSHC.
If you are found to be ineligible for OSHC, Medibank may take steps including terminating your membership or transferring you to an alternative cover. Medibank may backdate this change and require you to pay any additional premiums and/or repay any higher benefits you received on your OSHC cover.
Call Medibank on 134 190 to discuss the best health cover options to suit your needs.
Find out about Medibank Visitors Covers
What happens if I cancel my OSHC?
As requested by Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) under the new OSHC Deed, Medibank will be required to provide the name and contact details of any OSHC member (new or existing) to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) where any refund of the student’s OSHC premium is made by Medibank or the student has chosen to cancel their OSHC policy.
How does Australia’s Health System work?
The Australian health care system is divided into a public and a private system.
The Public System
Australia has a national public health system called Medicare. It provides eligible Australian residents with access to free treatment as public patients in public hospitals and free or subsidised treatment by doctors and other health professionals.
Australian residents contribute to the health care system through their taxes. Medicare is not generally available to overseas visitors, including international students.
The Private System
Many Australian residents:
- Choose to receive treatment in private hospitals
- Want to choose the doctor who treats them in hospital
- Want more options when they go to a private hospital
- Need services of other health professionals like dentists and physiotherapists
Generally, many Australian residents take out private health insurance to help cover these costs, which are usually not covered by Medicare.