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Study in Australia: Foreign Students' Access to Healthcare and Insurance

January 2023

Known worldwide as 'The Land of Kangaroos', and 'The Land Down Under', Australia is one of the most preferred study overseas destinations that sees the influx of a large number of international students, including many Indians who seek admission to its prestigious colleges and universities to pursue the programs of their choice. Behind only the UK and the US, Australia boasts the third-highest number of international students in the world, which is a remarkable achievement for a country with a population of only 24 million citizens. According to the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2023, Australia is home to 37 leading universities, seven of which rank within the exclusive top 100, so there is an abundance of choices. From Perth in the west to Brisbane in the east, Darwin in the north, and Hobart in the south, the top notch universities in Australia are dispersed throughout the nation. Australian universities are globally acclaimed and offer a myriad of courses to choose from. Courses in Australia are offered across various fields of study: Social Sciences, Business Analytics, Medicine, Engineering, Law, Artificial Intelligence, among others. Like the nation itself, the Australian health insurance system is outstanding. Access to healthcare in Australia has been growing gradually. Of all the developed nations, Australia has one of the greatest life expectancies for both men and women. It's important to familiarise yourself with the country's health insurance system before embarking on your study abroad journey. In the event of an unexpected illness or injury, you're secure thanks to insurance.

Health Services in Australia

Health Services in Australia for International Students:

As an international student planning to pursue a degree in Australia, you must acquire any one of the following health insurance plans:

  1. A private insurance policy for short-term courses/initiatives
  2. OSHC (Overseas Student Health Coverage) for extended study periods

A) Individual Health Insurance:

For courses with a time duration of three months or less, international students who study in Australia are permitted to attend while on a tourist visa. It is advised that such students have private health insurance. Plans can be created to only protect you, or you can choose to include coverage for any dependents who are living with you while you study abroad in Australia. When buying an international student insurance, be sure to do your breakdown to ensure that the coverage you pick is best suited to your specific needs. Insurance pricing and eligibility might vary greatly among funds and insurance policies.

B) Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC):

A student visa and an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) are necessary, if you plan to enrol in a programme of study in Australia for a period of time greater than three months. This is one of the necessary conditions of your student visa. Throughout the entirety of your stay in Australia, students must have an active, current insurance coverage. It pays for some prescription medications, ambulance services, hospital bills, and doctor appointments. In addition to being a requirement for enrolling in a course of study in Australia, OSHC is also one of the best investments you can make because medical costs in Australia are higher than those in many other nations. Those visiting Australia on a student visa are required to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) during their stay, with the exception of students from Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden. The majority of Australians have access to free or low-cost healthcare thanks to Medicare, Australia's national health insurance programme. Those who are citizens of the United Kingdom, Belgium, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, or Slovenia, and you are in Australia on a student visa, Medicare will cover you. Other foreign students are not covered by Medicare, but OSHC gives them easy access to healthcare. Norway, Finland, Malta, and the Republic of Ireland do not have reciprocal health care agreements with Australia, so it excludes students from those nations who are studying there.

C) Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC): Cost

The following health funds are permitted to provide OSHC by the Australian Government's Department of Health:

  • Allianz Care Australia (Peoplecare)
  • ahm OSHC
  • Medibank Private
  • BUPA Australia
  • CBHS International Health

The price of OSHC differs according to the kind of coverage needed. The cheapest minimal cover for a person for a full year (as of September 2021) is about AUD 478. Your educational setting may arrange for your OSHC on your behalf, or you may purchase it online from the webpage of the recognised OSHC provider. To ensure that the level of coverage you have opted for satisfies your needs, it would be ideal if you consulted with the different OSHC providers before deciding to purchase the coverage.

D) What all is included in Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)?

The OSHC plans are combined to offer coverage for foreign students who study in Australia and who require medical attention at a clinic or hospital as well as for a small number of prescription medications. It's crucial to get in touch with each OSHC provider before you buy a plan to be sure you get the coverage you require. In addition, find out about the plan's waiting periods, exclusions, and other restrictions. No treatment received outside the country will be covered by the OSHC insurance plan, and neither will travel to or from Australia. Dental, vision, or physiotherapy services are typically not covered by OSHC.

E) Payment Confirmation:

After submitting your application you must provide payment receipts and documentation proving that your OSHC coverage begins the moment you land in Australia.

For further assistance or queries students can contact us, Edwise International, and avail of our wide range of services for students on destinations like Universities in Australia, study in Australia, study in UK, study in USA, study in Canada, study in Ireland, study in New-Zealand, study in Singapore, and many other countries.

Foreign Students Healthcare and Insurance

Also read: Leading Universities in the UK for International Students (Part 2)

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