What is the OSHC (Overseas Student Health cover) ?!: Essential information from Overseas student insurance

2020-06-11 22:46

What is OSHC?

OSHC stands for Overseas Student Health Cover. It is a compulsory insurance for international students in Australia.
The system was created in order to provide a medical insurance for possible illnesses or accidents that occur within the course of time studying in Australia.

Medicare is Australia’s health scheme for all Australian citizens and it has been running since 1984. Australian utilises a wide range of health services with little or no cost. However, overseas students are not eligible for Medicare meaning they may struggle while paying for medical treatment. To reduce medical expenses, the Australian government demands international students must hold an OSHC during their stay in Australia. 

Who needs an OSHC?

  1. Student Visa holder
  2. Applicants for a student visa (including Bridging visa holders who are waiting for the student visa grant)

As shown above, a person who is planning to study in Australia for more than four months or  is currently studying in Australia is eligible for an OSHC. And according to the policy, a spouse, de facto and/or child(ren) who comes with the student is eligible for a couple or family OSHC plan as a dependent. A dependent child must be under 18, even if the dependent lives with a student visa holder together in Australia, and when this person reaches the age of 18, the person must purchase a separate insurance.     

OSHC duration 

To purchase an OSHC, you have to set the product and period. The OSHC duration must be the same as the full period of your stay in Australia. Usually, it allows you to purchase one or two months longer than your study period as it should cover the period of your last day in Australia. Occasionally when the course ends at the end of the year, the Australian immigration department requires students to purchase an OSHC by March 15 of the following year, so you must check the end date of the course and decide the OSHC period carefully.   

Course duration is less than 10 months - Study period + one month
Course duration is more than 10 months - Study period + two months
Course duration is more than 10 months and ends in December - March 15 of the following year

example: Course end date 4 March 2023 → OSHC end date: 4 April 2023 or 4 May 2023



Insurance premiums vary depending on single (student visa holder), couple (student visa holder + partner),
and family {student visa holder + partner + child (regardless of the number of children)} plans,
and the amount is calculated differently depending on the length of the stay period.

Single plan(one year): $422.91-$529

Couple plan(one year): $2479.07-$3142

Family plan(one year): $4967.71-$5438

The range of one-year insurance premiums is as stated above and insurance companies have different insurance premiums and guarantees, so you must check them before purchasing the policy. Some insurance agents offer insurance discounts, so make sure to check the discount details.


What does OSHC cover?


Q1. Should I have an OSHC?

Yes, if you are planning to study in Australia, you must purchase an OSHC. It is one of the mandate documents when you apply for a student visa in Australia.  Australian immigration department demands that students must have the appropriate OSHC for the duration of their student visa, while overseas students who do not maintain their OSHC are at risk of having their visas cancelled. Traveller insurances purchased abroad are not accepted by the Australian government as a student insurance policy, so you must purchase the OSHC through an Australian-registered private insurance company.

Q2. How do I purchase an OSHC?

You can buy it online or by visiting an insurance company in person. However, there is a special benefit if you choose to purchase the OSHC through an agent who specializes in purchasing insurance products. This applies especially to couple or family insurance plans, we offer special benefits only when purchasing through Iworld. Check the details at Iworld!

Q3. How much does it cost? Can I pay in installments?

You can check the policy price by entering the type and duration on OSHC comparison sites. Insurance premiums must be paid at one time for the entire studying  period. Some insurers offer payments using credit cards, but you will need to transfer money to get a discount on your OSHC through agents.

 Q4. Does my cover start on purchase?

When you purchase an OSHC you need to set the start and end dates, during this period you are covered. However, there is a waiting period for pregnancy-related services and extra covers. You will receive benefits such as treatments and services after the waiting period.  

Q5. What about the OSHC if I change, extend, or withdraw my studies in the middle?

You can get a refund for the remaining period if you cancel your OSHC  due to withdrawal of study, returning to country, change of visa status, etc. However, the documents to be submitted are different depending on the reason for cancellation, so you need to check the required documents through your agent or insurance company.

Now let’s learn some difficult insurance and medical terms!


GP is an abbreviation for general practitioner. GPs provide general medical treatment for patients and send patients to see a specialist for further examination or treatment.  


Specialists are experts in a specific area of medicine.


Medicare is the Australian health scheme that gives Australian residents access to a wide range of health and hospital services. It covers medical services from doctors, specialists and other health professionals, hospital treatments and many prescription medicines.


MBS(Medicare Benefits Schedule) is a list which includes consultations, procedures and tests and the Schedule fees for each of these items. Health consumers can claim 100% of the medical fee which is the amount that the Australian government has suggested is appropriate as a rebate. Medication is covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme(PBS) not by MBS.

 PBS(Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)

PBS is the system that the government uses to provide subsidies for prescription medication. Most of the OSHC providers pay the same amount to the PBS co-payment(currently $40.30) however, this benefit can vary from provider so you need to check the detailed coverage from your provider.


Gap is out of pocket expenses for medical and/or hospital charges. The Australian government runs the Medicare Benefits Schedule(MBS). According to MBS Medicare supports 75% of the MBS fee for associated medical costs and health insurer cover the remaining 25% of the MBS fee. However, doctors can charge more than the MBS fee and not all medical treatment is listed in the MBS. So in this case, you may have to pay gaps (the amount that is billed over and above the MBS fee) for some medical services.   

Waiting Period

A waiting period is a defined period of time that you need to wait before you can claim benefits under your cover. A waiting period can vary depending on the medical service and insurer.     

How to claim?

These days, most of the insurance companies have mobile applications,
so that submitting claims are much simpler than before. Below is how to claim insurance using the app of Bupa,
an OSHC insurance provider in Australia.

Step 1. Install the mobile application. Register and log on.

Step 2. Select “Make a claim” from the menu options.

Step 3. Upload a copy of your invoice or receipt from your health practitioner

Step 4. Upload a copy of a completed medical certificate if you are in the first 12 months of your cover.

As above, the OSHC insurance for students who have been preparing to study in Australia for more than four months or those who are already studying in Australia. Each provider has different coverage and premiums, so it is essential to compare them well before purchasing. It's a necessary document to apply for a student visa, but it's also an insurance that can protect you while you study in Australia. The longer you study, the higher the number of members and so the higher the price; so make sure to get a discount through the agent.

Please check the special promotion of Iworld and study safely.


If you want to know more about studying in Australia or immigration, Please contact Iworld.
We are happy to help you 🙂