When looking for a foreign country for higher education, many students often overlook the importance of accessible healthcare. In a new country and with new living conditions, you will never know when you need to get support for taking care of your health.
After all, students are under severe academic pressure these days, especially if they have uprooted their lives in pursuit of education. They often force themselves to compromise sleep and healthy food habits in order to survive college. Even with paper writing help by WritePaper and other academic platforms, students are often overwhelmed by the number of assignments they have to get through – in order to graduate with flying colors.
Fortunately, Australia is a country known for its healthcare system. As such, students need not have too much concern over receiving healthcare when needed. However, before moving to Australia, it is essential for students to have a fair idea about how the healthcare system works here and what they need to do from your side.
How does Healthcare Work in Australia?
The healthcare system in Australia is a combination of public and private care. The country has a publicly funded universal healthcare system – called Medicare. Medicare offers free medical treatment at discounted rates in government hospitals and medical clinics. However, it only covers part of the cost – often depending on the type of healthcare service provided.
To cover the remaining costs, residents of Australia can also opt for private health insurance. The benefits under the private scheme will indeed depend on the specific insurance plan.
That being said, international students in Australia are not eligible to receive free or subsidized treatment under Medicare. For this reason, all students moving to Australia for studies are expected to hold Overseas Student Health Cover or OSHC.
In fact, healthcare insurance is mandatory to secure a student visa in Australia.
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
As evident from the name, OSHC is a health insurance scheme that covers the medical expenses of international students in Australia. This includes visitors to a doctor, some hospital stays, emergency ambulances, and limited prescription medicine.
Students should hold OSHC from the day they arrive in Australia, and the insurance should be valid throughout the length of their stay as a student in the country.
How Does OSHC Work?
Typically, OSHC insurance providers will have agreements with medical professionals and clinics in Australia. In that case, you can simply show your OSHC membership card, and the medical bill will be directly sent to your provider. You can reach out to the insurance provider to gather information about the medical providers they have agreements with.
On the other hand, if you visit a doctor or a medical establishment that is not on the list, you will need to pay the bill upfront. But you can later send the payment receipt and bill to your OSHC provider in order to claim the money back.
While some providers allow you to do this online via the student app, for others, you might have to send in the bill via mail or email. Once the claim is processed, the money will be deposited in your bank account directly.
Another alternative is that you can claim the money from the college directly. However, not every provider offers this option, and there is a limit to the maximum amount you can redeem in this manner.
How to Get OSHC?
Students can purchase OSHC insurance via any private health insurance provider registered in Australia. Since they offer online services, it shouldn’t be hard to get information from your country. Moreover, some colleges also provide students with a list of OSHC providers that they can choose from.
Some of the most prominent registered OSHC providers include:
- Australian Health Management
- BUPA Australia Health
Bear in mind that international students will also need to take out OSHC for any family members they are traveling with. For instance, some students might be traveling with their partners and children when going to Australia for advanced research programs. In this case, the OSHC should be issued in the names of the family members.
The cost of OSHC insurance will differ depending on the type of coverage required. The lowest cost of minimum cover is around AUD$500 for 12 months of singles cover, and it can go as high as $2,600 for 12 months for couples and $5,000 for families.
If you are confused about the type of coverage you require, it is best to talk to the customer service of the OSHC providers before choosing a plan. That said, if your visa is denied, OSHC will cancel the payment – so students won’t end up losing any money.
Australia also has partnerships with several countries and, as such, offers Medicare benefits for international students visiting from these destinations. These countries include:
- United Kingdom
- The Republic of Ireland
- New Zealand
- The Netherlands
- And Italy
The list of countries might be updated – therefore, be sure to check with the visa services whether the agreements are still valid. The length of your coverage depends on where you are visiting from.
For instance, students of Italy and Malta are offered protection under Medicare for only six months, whereas those from Ireland can receive benefits for the entire length of their stay.
Students might also be able to find extra OSHC schemes that offer benefits that are not commonly found in typical schemes. This includes dental, physiotherapy, and optical services.
The choice is, of course, ultimately yours. We suggest that you compare the plans provided by at least three insurance companies before deciding the right option for you.
Health Benefits Offered by Universities
Students should also make it a point to take care of their health when studying abroad – be it in Australia or anywhere else. Eating well and exercising regularly can boost your cognitive functioning while allowing your immune system to work as required. And when in Australia, students have access to top-notch facilities.
The universities of Australia have beautiful campuses, which makes it easy for students to get in their daily doses of exercise by walking, jogging, or cycling. Students can also get gym memberships at a discounted price.
That being said, physical healthcare is only one aspect to think about. Many students also suffer from mental health problems – such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Many a time, they prefer not to go to hospitals to receive health care or support.
This is where university counselors come in. All reputed colleges in Australia have dedicated offices and professionals who are fully equipped to help international students manage their stress and life in Australia. They focus on inclusivity and offer all necessary resources in order to help students learn better in the classrooms and help them lead happy lives outside the campus.
International students can also join clubs and societies that can help them find the emotional support they seek.
All in all, Australia is a great choice for international students – as it prioritizes the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of students. It mandates health insurance for all students, so they will be able to find support without worrying about the costs.