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Health Insurance (OSHC & OVHC)

Navigating Health Insurance for International Students in Australia

Studying in Australia as an international student involves additional expenses beyond university fees and accommodation, including medical and hospital costs. Your health should be just as important as your academic goals. However, international students are not eligible for Medicare, the Australian public health insurance. Instead, they are required to obtain a specific health policy known as Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to ensure their medical expenses are covered while in Australia.

OSHC is designed to provide health coverage for international students, including medical and hospital expenses. It is mandatory for all international student applicants and their dependents, if any, to purchase this policy for the duration of their academic course.

International students who are enrolled in courses lasting three months or less can opt for a tourist visa and a private international student insurance program that covers that specific duration.


OSHC providers in Australia

To obtain OSHC, both the student applicant and any dependents must acquire health policies that cover the entire duration of their academic course. Single applicants can have their own individual policy, while couples or families will need a 'couple insurance' or 'family health cover.' These policies must be obtained from approved health insurance providers.

When applying for OSHC, there are minimum requirements that must be met. Pioneer Global can assist in finding the most suitable international student health coverage based on individual requirements, ensuring the right policy is chosen with relevant benefits at a competitive price. Popular health insurance providers like BUPA, Medibank, AHM, NIB, and Allianz Care Australia are among our partner companies.

It's important to note that OSHC does not cover general treatments such as optical, dental, or physiotherapy. For coverage of these services, students may need to acquire OSHC Extras, which can be obtained from an OSHC provider or an Australian private health insurer.

It's worth mentioning that OSHC also includes coverage for COVID-19-related illnesses, particularly those related to lung and chest issues, kidney and bladder problems, and dialysis for chronic kidney failure.

For international applicants planning to travel to or work in Australia, Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) is required. This policy applies to various visa categories such as Visitor Visas, Bridging Visas, Working Visas, and Working Holiday Visas. If an international student graduates and applies for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), they will need to switch from OSHC to OVHC to meet the health requirements.

Unlike OSHC, OVHC policies may offer general treatment cover, including services provided by private healthcare providers like dentists, optometrists, and physiotherapists. OVHC policies may also cover a portion of doctor's fees and limited pharmaceutical expenses.

When considering OVHC, it's essential to select the right policy that suits individual requirements, and the cost of the OVHC policy can be paid on a monthly basis, unlike OSHC, which has a pre-purchase scheme covering the entire academic duration and stay.

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