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OSHC – Overseas Student Health Cover

If you’re visiting Australia to study, the last thing you want to worry about is medical expenses if you get sick or have an accident. The healthcare system in Australia is one of the best, but the cost of treatment can be expensive. 

If you’re from overseas and studying in Australia, you will not be eligible for cover with Medicare, Australia’s public healthcare system. It’s also a condition of your visa that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of your stay. In fact, you need to have Overseas Student Health Cover before your visa will be granted.

As a healthcare leader, Bupa offers affordable Overseas Student Health Cover with fast, friendly and helpful advice on your healthcare needs, so you can focus on your studies.

Download an OSHC Brochure, PDF 385 KB

Download an OSHC Brochure (Simplified Chinese), PDF 859 KB

Download an OSHC Brochure (Japanese), PDF 819 KB

Download an OSHC Brochure (Korean), PDF 1.7 MB

Download an OSHC Brochure (Arabic), PDF 616 KB

Hospital cover details

Provides public and private hospital and medical cover including visits to a doctor or specialist. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) meets the health insurance requirements of any overseas student visa.

What is covered

Hospital expenses

Cover for your hospital expenses

If you are admitted to a Members First, Network or public hospital, including licensed day hospital facilities, you will receive full cover for a range of hospital expenses, for as long as medically necessary.

Hospital expenses are charges for in-hospital services, which include:

  • accommodation for overnight or same-day hospital stays
  • operating theatre, intensive care and labour ward fees
  • supplied pharmaceuticals approved by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and provided to you as part of your in-hospital treatment
  • allied services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dietetics
  • medication, dressings and other consumables
  • most diagnostic tests (eg. pathology, radiology)
  • no Gap prostheses that are surgically implanted and Government-recognised and that remain in-situ upon discharge from the hospital
  • single room where available.*

*Single room accommodation is only covered at Members First or Network private hospitals. At public hospitals, you are fully covered for shared ward accommodation only.

Find a Members First or Network private hospital

Cover for Prostheses

If your doctor chooses a No Gap prosthesis you will not have any out-of-pocket expense where the prosthesis item is implanted as part of the covered hospital treatment. If the prosthesis item used is listed as a Gap prosthesis you’ll have to pay the gap charged by the hospital. However, you can ask your specialist to choose a No Gap prosthesis as there is one available for every surgical requirement.

Medical expenses

Cover for your inpatient medical expenses

We cover you for 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for services provided by doctors including surgeons, anaesthetists, pathologists or radiologists while in hospital.

Cover for your out-patient medical expenses

You'll also receive medical cover equal to 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee as a hospital outpatient or when treated by a doctor or specialist in private practice. This includes services from General Practitioners (GPs), medical specialists, medical imaging providers (X-rays and ultrasounds), pathology providers, and more.

Find a Direct Billing Doctor PDF 58 KB

Cover for the 'gap'

Our Medical Gap Scheme is a direct billing system your specialist can use to eliminate or reduce the gap. Specialists using this scheme bill us directly. So in most cases, you don't pay any out-of-pocket expenses, or even receive a bill. And if there is a gap, you will be told about the amount before your treatment. Simply ask your specialist about our Medical Gap Scheme.

Cover for out-patient services at hospitals

If you visit a public hospital out-patient clinic (including Accident and Emergency) where you are NOT an admitted patient, you will be fully covered for your medical treatment.

If you visit a private hospital out-patient clinic (including Accident and Emergency) where you are NOT an admitted patient, you will receive cover at 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Fee. Please note that you may have a large Medical Gap fee that is not covered by your OSHC.

Out-patient pharmacy

We'll cover you for selected pharmacy items prescribed as a hospital out-patient or by a doctor or specialist. You’ll receive a benefit of up to $50 per prescription item after you pay the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) patient co-payment fee. This is as long as the item's usage is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and not mentioned on our exclusions list.

You can claim up to $300 per calendar year for a single membership or $600 per calendar year for a couple or family membership.

Emergency Ambulance Services

On top of your hospital cover you will receive cover for uncapped emergency ambulance transportation services or on-the spot treatment anywhere in Australia. Emergency ambulance services will be covered only where the service is medically necessary for admission to hospital or for any condition that requires on-the-spot Emergency Treatment. You’re not covered for non-emergency transportation from a hospital to your home, a nursing home or another hospital.

If you do not have an ambulance subscription with your state ambulance service and need to make a claim for emergency ambulance services covered on your OSHC, please complete and return to us the Particulars of Ambulance Transportation form

What is not covered

Full costs at non-agreement and fixed fee private hospitals

If you choose to be treated at a private hospital that is not one of our Members First or Network hospitals, you may incur large out-of-pocket expenses. At fixed fee hospitals, you may have to pay a co-payment. To get the most value from your cover, we recommend you use a Members First or Network hospital.

During a waiting period

A waiting period starts from the date you join and is the time between when you joined us and when you are covered for a service or treatment. During a waiting period you are not covered and will not receive any benefits for the types of treatment affected by the waiting period. Once the waiting period is over, you will receive the full benefits listed under your cover for that treatment type.

If you receive a service or treatment during a waiting period, you are not eligible to receive a benefit payment from us regardless of when you submit the claim. We will only pay a benefit for treatment received during a waiting period if the treatment is classified as Emergency Treatment (see below for more information on Emergency Treatment).

If you transfer to us from another OSHC provider you’ll continue to be covered for all benefit entitlements that you had with your previous provider. We will honour all the waiting periods you have already served when we receive confirmation of your previous membership.

When you upgrade to a higher level of cover, the benefits from your previous level of cover apply during waiting periods.

Emergency Treatment

Emergency Treatment is any treatment required where a person:

  • is in a life-threatening situation and requires urgent assessment and resuscitation
  • has suspected acute organ or system failure
  • has an illness or injury where the function of a body part or organ is acutely threatened
  • has a drug overdose, toxic substance or toxin effect
  • has psychiatric disturbance whereby the health of the person or other people are at immediate risk
  • has severe pain and the function of a body part or organ is suspected to be acutely threatened
  • has acute haemorrhaging and requires urgent assessment and treatment
  • has a condition that requires immediate admission to avoid imminent threat to their life and where a transfer to another facility is impractical.

Minimum Benefits

If a service is covered as a Minimum Benefit, this means you will be fully covered with your choice of doctor for shared room accommodation in a public hospital only. If you go to a private hospital for a specific service which has Minimum Benefits, it is likely to result in large out-of-pocket expenses. Minimum Benefits are an amount set by the Government and are generally not adequate to cover costs in a private hospital.

Exclusions

Overseas Student Health Cover excludes some specific services. This means you will not be covered for that specified service or treatment whilst you are on OSHC. For the duration of this cover you will not receive cover for:

  • assisted reproductive services (including IVF)
  • cosmetic surgery (that is not clinically necessary and where benefits are not payable by Medicare)
  • services not covered by Medicare
  • medical expenses for surgical procedures performed in hospital by a dentist or podiatrist
  • treatment for a student’s child who is over 18 years of age
  • expenses relating to medical examinations, X-rays, inoculations or vaccinations or other treatments related to acquiring a visa or permanent residency
  • any treatments or services rendered outside of Australia. This includes:
    • treatment arranged before you arrived in Australia;
    • treatment while travelling to or from Australia;
    • expenses for treatment outside of Australia; or
    • transportation into or out of Australia in any circumstance

Services and situations not covered by health funds

Situations when you are likely not to be covered include:

  • treatment during a waiting period (unless Emergency Treatment is required)
  • when specific services or treatments are paid at minimum benefits or excluded from your level of cover
  • when you are treated at a non-agreement hospital you will not be fully covered
  • for the fixed fee charged by a fixed fee hospital or a hospital that has a fixed fee service
  • when you have not been admitted into hospital and are treated as an out-patient (eg emergency room treatment, outpatient antenatal consultations with an obstetrician prior to childbirth), you will not be fully covered
  • hospital treatment provided by a practitioner not authorised by a hospital to provide that treatment
  • hospital treatment for which Medicare pays no benefit, including medical costs in relation to surgical podiatry (including the fees charged by the podiatric surgeon); most cosmetic surgery; respite care; experimental treatment and/or any treatment/procedure not approved by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC)
  • personal expenses such as: pay TV, non-local phone calls, newspapers, boarder fees, meals ordered for you visitors, hairdressing and any other personal expenses charged to you unless included in your cover
  • if you are in hospital for more than 35 days and have been classified as a ‘nursing home type’ patient. In this situation you may receive limited benefits and be required to make a personal contribution towards the cost of your care
  • for pharmacy items not opened at the point of leaving the hospital, unless covered on your OSHC or extras cover
  • if you choose to use your own allied health provider (eg chiropractors, dietitians or psychologists) rather than the hospital's practitioner for services that form part of your in-hospital treatment
  • where compensation, damages or benefits may be claimed by another source (eg workers compensation)
  • treatment for any children on a family membership if they are over 18 years of age
  • additional charges applied for single room accommodation in a public hospital
  • some non-PBS and high cost drugs
  • any treatments or services rendered outside Australia

Waiting Periods


Service Waiting period
Pre-existing conditions, ailments or illnesses of a psychiatric nature 2 months
Pregnancy related services (including childbirth) 12 months*
All other pre-existing conditions, ailments or illnesses for hospital and out-patient medical services 12 months

*Not applicable to OSHC members who joined before 1 July 2011.

Extras cover

Extras cover helps you with the cost of some services not covered by OSHC, including dental, optical, physiotherapy and natural therapies. We have an extensive range of affordable extras cover options you can buy to help you with the cost of these additional services. Please contact us for details.