OSHC is a product designed to assist international students meet the costs of medical treatment they may need while studying in Australia. It has been mandated by the Australian government that all international students in Australia, with a few exceptions, must have an OSHC policy for the duration of their Student Visa.

 Primarily, OSHC provides for payments up to the current Medical Benefits Schedule. Essentially, this means that international students receive similar medical cover to Australian residents under their OSHC policies.

 Students must obtain OSHC cover for the duration of their proposed student visa. If you extend your visa, you must renew your OSHC policy.


At a minimum, OSHC policies must cover the following:

  • the benefit amount listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for out-of-hospital medical services (for example, a general practitioner)
  • 100 per cent of the MBS fee for in-patient medical services (for example, surgery)
  • public hospital shared ward accommodation
  • private hospital shared ward accommodation (only for hospitals that have contractual arrangements with the overseas student’s health insurer)
  • day surgery accommodation
  • some prosthetic devices
  • pharmaceutical benefits up to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 a year for a single membership ($600 for a family membership). Overseas students may face significant out of pocket costs if they do not have appropriate coverage for treatment with pharmaceuticals, particularly oncology (cancer) treatment.
  • ambulance services.


OSHC policies cannot cover the following expenses:

  • arranged before coming to Australia
  • needed while travelling to or from Australia
  • transportation of an overseas student or dependent into or out of Australia for any reason
  • covered by provisions for compensation and damages.


 Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) is a product designed to assist foreigners meet the costs of medical treatment they may need while living in Australia. A number of insurance providers have products available that will meet the minimum level of coverage. You are able to choose a product which is right for you, as long as it meets the Department of Immigration’s requirements.


According to temporary visa health insurance requirements, at a minimum, OVHC insurance policies must cover the following:

  • Public hospital : overnight and day only hospital accommodation (all costs including: all theatre, intensive care, labour wards, ward drugs); emergency department fees that lead to an admission; admitted patient care and post-operative services that are a continuation of care associated with an early discharge from hospital.
  • Surgically implanted prostheses
  • Pharmacy - all PBS listed drugs that are prescribed according to the PBS approved indications, that are administered during and form part of an admitted episode of care
  • A benefit equal to the PBS listed price in excess of the patient contribution
  • 100 per cent of the MBS fee for in-patient medical services (for example, surgery), or less if the patient is charged less.
  • Ambulance services
  • Minimum benefit of $1 million per person per annum.


OVHC insurance policies may only exclude the following:

  • Assisted reproductive treatments (e.g., IVF);
  • Elective cosmetic treatments;
  • Bone marrow and organ transplants;
  • Treatment while travelling to or from Australia;
  • Treatment arranged before coming to Australia; and
  • Treatments covered by compensation and damages provisions of any kind.


To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the only waiting periods that maybe imposed are:

  • 12 months for pregnancy related conditions;
  • 12 months for pre-existing conditions; and
  • 2 months for psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care, regardless of whether or not the condition is a pre-existing.