Increasing support for international students navigating Australia’s healthcare system
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Medibank is making it easier for international students to access the right healthcare while taking some of the confusion out of navigating Australia’s healthcare system by providing access to an online GP service.
People who are new to Australia are often unaware that they could be treated by a GP and instead wait for hours in a hospital emergency department.
The OSHC Online Doctor service has been integrated into the Medibank and ahm Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) apps to make it easy for international students to access an online consultation with a GP in a variety of languages.
Medibank Group Executive, Customer Portfolios Milosh Milisavljevic said we want to support our international students to make the best healthcare decisions to suit their individual needs.
“It’s challenging to arrive in a new country to study and be dealing with language barriers, being isolated from family and then if you feel sick, not knowing what to do,” he said.
“We intuitively know to call ‘000’ for an emergency, that hay fever can cause a runny nose and itchy skin and that a doctor is referred to as a GP, but this is not something all international students are aware of.
“Waiting in an emergency department for hours to be treated for a minor issue can create a sense of anxiety, compared to seeing a GP.
“Medibank pays benefits towards more than 17,000 consults nationally at public hospital emergency departments every year for overseas students, but we know many of these could be handled through a GP consultation, making it easier for our international students and taking pressure off our public hospital system.”
Medibank and ahm OSHC students already have access to a network of 446 bulk billing GPs, but this new service will provide them with online access to a network of around 800 Australian GPs.
“From a consultation, international students are able to access prescriptions and organise to have them picked up at a pharmacy. They can also get specialist, pathology and imaging referrals,” Mr Milisavljevic said.
“It’s always recommended to contact your regular GP first, however if that’s not possible, then OSHC Online Doctor is able to assist.”
The Medibank and ahm OSHC app can be downloaded via Apple store and Google Play.