Frequently asked questions


Joining Bupa Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

What is OSHC?

Discover more about Bupa OSHC and some of the benefits you'll receive as a Bupa OSHC member.

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For more details on your cover, see our Important Information Guide.

If I join when will my cover start?

Since you’ve got or are applying for a student visa, you need to have cover from the day you arrive in Australia, but you’ll need to buy your cover earlier, to help with your student visa application.

We know that sometimes plans can change. So if you need to change the start date, you can do this by contacting us on 1800 888 942 (within Australia) or +61 3 9937 4223 (outside of Australia), or email us at students@bupa.com.au.

How do I know which start and end dates to select?

Your OSHC start date
Your OSHC start date is the same day you plan to arrive in Australia. If you don’t have your arrival date, please use the date 28 days before your course starts.

OR

If you’re changing your course of study or moving to Bupa from another OSHC provider, please choose the day after your current OSHC expires.

OSHC end date

Your OSHC must cover the entire duration of your student visa. See the table below for the maximum duration of your grant:

Duration of course Add to your course end date
10 months or less 1 month
Over 10 months ending between January and October 2 months
Over 10 months ending in November or December Select 15 March of the next year

For example, if your course runs from 1 March to 1 September (which is under 10 months) then add one month to your course end date. That would make your OSHC policy dates 1 March to 1 October.

Remember, you need to be continuously covered by OSHC when you’re in Australia, or you may breach your visa conditions.
If you need to make any changes to the start or end dates of your OSHC, please get in touch and we can help.

When do I start paying for my OSHC?

Since you’ll need OSHC to get your student visa, you need to purchase your OSHC upfront for the expected duration of your stay.

What if my OSHC expires?

It’s important to keep on top of your OSHC expiry date while you’re still in Australia, because if you breach your student visa conditions, it might affect your ability to extend your visa.

Remember if your OSHC has expired and you have no other health insurance cover, hospital and medical services won’t be covered and can be very expensive.

How do I transfer my OSHC from another fund?

If you’re with another health insurance company, and you like the sound of Bupa OSHC, we can help you move to Bupa today.

We’ll even make sure that any waiting periods you’ve already served are taken into account, so you won’t need to re-serve them if you’ve had continuous cover.

To move to Bupa OSHC, send us an email at students@bupa.com.au and we can get the process started.

Does my OSHC cover me outside Australia?

Bupa OSHC only provides hospital and medical cover while you’re in Australia.

Can my OSHC cover members of my family?

You can purchase OSHC for singles, couples or families for you and your dependents who’ll be with you in Australia.

If your family member has their own student visa, or if they’re a member of your extended family, they’ll need to purchase their own OSHC or other cover.

If your immediate or extended family member is working in or visiting Australia, we’ve got separate cover specifically for overseas visitors.

About your cover

What am I covered for?

Find out what your Bupa OSHC includes and how you can use your cover.



View more student videos.

For more details on your cover, see our Important Information Guide.

How do I update my mailing address?

You can update your details through myBupa using the instructions below:

  • Visit my.bupa.com.au
  • Click ‘Register Now’ if you haven’t registered yet
  • Select the menu, then your name
  • Click ‘Update contact details’
  • Edit your details and then select ‘Update’.

Once you’ve registered for myBupa, you can:

  • Access your membership card
  • Find a doctor
  • See what you’re covered for
  • Submit and review claims
  • View our member discounts

And more.

How do I order a Bupa OSHC membership card?

You’ve joined Bupa OSHC. Here’s how to order your Bupa member card.



View more student videos.

For more details on your cover, see our Important Information Guide.

What is a gap payment/out of pocket cost?

A gap/out of pocket cost is the difference between what’s charged for a treatment by the provider and what’s covered by your health insurance.

If your treatment provider charges more than what’s covered on your health insurance, you’ll have a gap which you’ll need to pay.

What is the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee?

This is the amount the Australian Government has set for a specific service for Australian residents. If your doctor or specialist charges more than this MBS fee, there will be a ‘gap’ for you to pay.

Can I reduce my gap payment/out of pocket cost?

To try and reduce your gap payment/out of pocket costs, you can:

  • Ask your provider about the cost of treatment upfront
  • Visit a Bupa Friendly Doctor (GP) where possible

Find a Bupa Friendly Doctor

What if I go to hospital as an inpatient?

If you’re admitted to hospital (inpatient) for treatment, you can also remove or reduce the costs you pay with the Bupa Medical Gap Scheme.

The Bupa Medical Gap Scheme can be used by any doctors treating you in Public or Private Hospitals that Bupa has an agreement with. You can find these hospitals, also known as Members First or Network hospitals, using find a provider.

When a doctor chooses to use the Bupa Medical Gap Scheme for your treatment, they agree to only charge up to a certain fee. The most you’ll pay is up to $500 per doctor on out of pocket medical costs.

Check out our medical gap scheme info for more details.

Does OSHC cover the cost of interpreters?

We don’t cover the cost of interpreters, but we have multilingual consultants at Bupa retail stores who are happy to help. Find a Bupa store.
We also have a 24 Hour Student Advice line which can help in more than 180 languages for:

  • Personal health or lifestyle related questions including medical and accident assistance
  • Personal home and property assistance
  • General tax and legal enquiries
  • Trauma counselling.

Bupa OSHC members can call 1300 884 235.

Are there terms and conditions for my OSHC?

You can find the terms and conditions for your Bupa policy in the Overseas Student Health Cover Fund Rules.

Sick or injured

What happens if I get sick and I haven’t received my Bupa membership card?

If you’ve arrived in Australia and get sick, you can still see a doctor but may have to pay for your treatment and then make a claim for reimbursement.

If you've got an Android or iOS smartphone, you can now access a digital membership card on your phone. You'll be able to use your digital member card to tap and claim with your phone at selected providers.

Search “myBupa” on the Google Play Store and make sure your smartphone settings are configured for Australia. More details on accessing and using the digital card here.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Watch this video to find out what you should do if you’re sick or injured.



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Should I go to the doctor or hospital?

This depends on whether it’s an emergency or not.
Emergency: An emergency is a serious illness or injury that poses an immediate risk to your life or long-term wellbeing.
If it’s an emergency:

  • Dial 000
  • They’ll send you an ambulance if required.

Non-emergency: A non-emergency is an illness or injury that needs treatment but isn’t immediately life-threatening. In this case, it’s better to visit your nearest doctor (General Practitioner) rather than heading straight to the hospital emergency department.
If it’s not an emergency:

  • Find a Bupa Friendly Doctor
  • Make an appointment to see the doctor. If it’s your first visit, plan to arrive a few minutes early to fill out any paperwork
  • The doctor will see you and work out whether you need medicine or to see a specialist.
What’s a doctor or general practitioner (GP)?

A doctor or general practitioner (GP) is the common name for a local doctor. You’ll be able to see any GP with your Bupa OSHC membership.

What’s a Bupa Friendly Doctor?

A Bupa Friendly Doctor is a GP that agrees to submit your claim directly to Bupa. This helps reduce or eliminate any payment you would normally need to make on the day of your appointment.
Find a Bupa Friendly Doctor

What’s a specialist?

A medical specialist is a person highly skilled in a specific area of medicine like radiologists, psychiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons.

Your GP may send you to a specialist if they think specific expertise is necessary to diagnose or treat you. To see a specialist you’ll need a referral from your GP.

What’s a chemist or pharmacy?

In Australia, a pharmacy is often called a ‘chemist’. This is where you can go to get medication.

Some medication can only be bought if you have been given a prescription from a doctor (usually printed on a piece of paper, or ‘script’).Take the prescription your doctor gives you to the chemist and they will give you the medicine.

How much do I need to pay for prescriptions (i.e. medicines)?

With Bupa OSHC, we’ll pay benefits for some prescription items, up to the per person and yearly limits for your cover that are:

  • Prescribed as an outpatient
  • Are listed on the Australian Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) Schedule (or non-PBS listed and TGA approved)
  • Prescribed by a doctor or a specialist
  • Not on our exclusions list

Contact us to find out if the medication you’ve been prescribed is covered.

Claims

How do I make a claim?

We know understanding health insurance systems can be tricky, so we've created myBupa - an online hub that makes using your cover easier than ever.

With 24/7 access across laptop, desktop and mobile, it's the quickest way to manage your membership and more.

Follow our instructions on how to make a claim, or watch our video below.



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How can I see a history of my claims?

Just log in to our online hub, myBupa to see your claims history.
Register for an account or log in to view:

  • Visit mybupa.com.au
  • Click ‘Register Now’ if you haven’t registered yet
  • Select the menu, then ‘Claims’

Once you’ve registered for myBupa, you can:

  • Access your membership card
  • Find a doctor
  • View what you’re covered for
  • Update your details
  • View our member discounts

And more.

Can I cancel my OSHC when I have semester/study break?

While you’re in Australia on a student visa, you need to be covered by adequate health insurance.

If you decide to cancel your cover while you’re still in Australia on this student visa, you’ll breach your visa conditions and you may not be able to extend your visa.

Looking after your health is important, especially when you’re away from home. Illnesses and accidents can happen unexpectedly and if you don’t have valid OSHC, hospital and medical services can be expensive.

Who can see details of my OSHC claims?

We send most of our communications to the policy holder, but claims information is sensitive and treated differently because it relates to individuals.

Claims information is benefits we’ve paid, claims tax statements and general discussions with customers about claims.

Everyone on a health insurance policy over the age of 15 can record their preference for communication of claims information. They can choose whether it’s sent to them or to the policyholder. If we don’t already have a preference recorded, the system will send individuals their own claims information from the age of 18.
You can view our privacy policy.

Extras

Does my OSHC policy include Extras services like dental, chiro and physio services?

No. Your Bupa OSHC policy doesn’t cover you for dental and other ancillary (also known as Extras) services such as physio, podiatry consultations, optical and chiro. But you can purchase OSHC Extras or any of our standalone Extras products in addition to your OSHC.

View more student videos.

How can I see how much I have left to use on my Extras cover?

You can check your remaining limits on selected Extras like dental and physio so you know exactly how much you have left on your limits to claim in myBupa.

What’s a Bupa Members First provider?

Bupa Members First Extras network is an extensive network of healthcare professionals including dental, physiotherapy, chiropractic and podiatry providers. OSHC Extras services (which are different from your visa compliant OSHC) are only available through this network with the benefit of 100% cover on the set number of included services, such as dental check-ups, physio, chiro and podiatry consultations (subject to yearly visit limits).*

This means that you won’t have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses when you visit a Members First Extras network provider. Also, be aware that OSHC Extras doesn’t cover services provided by non-Bupa Members First healthcare providers.



View more student videos.

*Yearly limits, waiting periods, fund and policy rules apply.

Can I join Bupa OSHC Extras, even though my OSHC is with another provider?

Yes. Even if your OSHC is with another provider, you can get Bupa OSHC Extras.

Looking after my wellbeing

How can I take care of myself in Australia?

We know moving to a new country can be a big change. Here are some tips on how you can take care of yourself while you’re studying and beyond.



View more student videos.

I’m not feeling like myself. How can I feel my best?

We want you to enjoy your time studying in Australia, but it’s normal to sometimes not feel like yourself.

We’ve created a collection of resources to help you get back on track.

We’ve included:

  • Mindfulness resources and tools to support you
  • Articles and tips to guide you through the year
  • Guided meditation exercises to help you clear your mind and be in the moment.

If you feel like you need a moment to reset, join us for a moment of calm to feel your best.

Taking care of my sexual health

Does my health insurance cover contraception?

Selected prescribed pharmacy items are generally covered, up to the per person and yearly limits for your cover. Get in touch to find out whether the medication you’ve been prescribed is covered.

Does my OSHC cover the cost of cervical & breast screening? 

As a general rule, if it’s covered by Medicare for residents and citizens, then your Bupa OSHC will cover it, up to 100% of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. If your provider charges more than the MBS fee, you’ll need to pay the difference, also known as a gap payment or out of pocket cost.

But the cost of your testing or treatment can vary depending on the provider. You can always ask for a quote (including MBS item numbers) before you begin any treatment, so you can work out if there will be any cost for you (gap) if they charge more than the MBS fee.

Does my Bupa OSHC cover the cost of STI testing and treatment?

As a general rule, if it’s covered by Medicare for residents and citizens, then your Bupa OSHC will cover it, up to 100% of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. If your provider charges more than the MBS fee, you’ll need to pay the difference, also known as a gap payment or out of pocket cost.

But the cost of your testing or treatment can vary depending on the provider. You can always ask for a quote (including MBS item numbers) before you begin any treatment, so you can work out if there will be any cost for you (gap) if they charge more than the MBS fee.

If you need medication, selected prescribed pharmacy items are generally covered, up to the per person and yearly limits for your cover. Contact us to find out whether the medication you’ve been prescribed is covered.

Where can I get tested for STIs and HIV?

Find your closest Bupa Friendly Doctor (GP) and schedule an appointment or contact the 24 Hour Student Advice Line on 1300 884 235.

Find a Bupa Friendly Doctor

How much will PrEP and PEP cost me?

As a general rule, if it’s covered by Medicare for residents and citizens, then your Bupa OSHC will cover it, up to 100% of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. If your provider charges more than the MBS fee, you’ll need to pay the difference, also known as a gap payment or out of pocket cost.

Selected prescribed pharmacy items are generally covered, up to the per person and yearly limits for your cover. Contact us to find out whether the medication you’ve been prescribed is covered.

Does my OSHC cover the cost of pregnancy care?

Pregnancy and birth are covered under OSHC. However, 12 month waiting periods apply for all pregnancy related conditions and any pre-existing conditions.
Assisted Reproductive Services are not covered on Bupa OSHC.

What you’re covered for will depend on whether you’re treated out of hospital (outpatient) or admitted to hospital (inpatient).

Outpatient:

We’ll pay up to 100% of the MBS fee for the cost of medical services provided by doctors or specialists in or out of hospital.^

But the cost of your testing or treatment can vary depending on the provider. You can always ask for a quote (including MBS item numbers) before you begin any treatment, so you can work out if there will be any cost for you (gap) if they charge more than the MBS fee.


Inpatient:


We’ll help cover hospital and medical costs for pregnancy and birth^, including:

  • Accommodation for overnight or same-day stays
  • Operating theatre, intensive care and labour ward fees
  • Supplied pharmaceuticals approved for the condition to be treated by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and provided as part of your in hospital treatment
  • Private room where available and clinically appropriate~

And more.

We will cover medical costs up to 100% of the MBS fee. These include:

  • Fees charged by your doctor, surgeon, anaesthetist or any other specialist for any treatment given to you while you’re admitted to hospital as an inpatient
  • Most diagnostic tests recognised by Medicare as medically necessary such as
    • Pathology (e.g. blood tests)
    • Radiology (e.g. x-rays)

For full details on costs which are covered and which aren’t, see our Important Information Guide

^ Waiting periods, fund and policy rules apply.
~ Conditions apply. Contact us for more information.

Does OSHC cover the cost for the termination of pregnancy (abortion)? How much will it cost me?

Yes. Miscarriage and termination of pregnancy are covered by OSHC. 

What you’re covered for will depend on whether you’re treated out of hospital (outpatient) or admitted to hospital (inpatient).
Outpatient:
We’ll pay up to 100% of the MBS fee for the cost of your medical services provided by doctors or specialists in or out of hospital.^
But the cost of your testing or treatment can vary depending on the provider. You can always ask for a quote (including MBS item numbers) before you begin any treatment, so you can work out if there will be any cost for you (gap) if they charge more than the MBS fee.

Inpatient:
We’ll help cover hospital and medical costs for miscarriage and termination of pregnancy.
Hospital costs we cover include:

  • Accommodation for overnight or same-day stays
  • Operating theatre, intensive care and labour ward fees
  • Supplied pharmaceuticals approved for the condition to be treated by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and provided as part of your in-hospital treatment
  • Private room where available and clinically appropriate~

And more.
We will cover medical costs up to 100% of the MBS fee. These include:

  • Fees charged by your doctor, surgeon, anaesthetist or any other specialist for any treatment given to you while you’re admitted to hospital as an inpatient
  • Most diagnostic tests recognised by Medicare as medically necessary such as
    • Pathology (e.g. blood tests)
    • Radiology (e.g. x-rays)

For full details on costs which are covered and which aren’t, see our Important Information Guide.
^ Waiting periods, fund and policy rules apply.
~ Conditions apply. Contact us for more information.

Do I have to pay upfront for sexual reproductive health care even if I have OSHC?

As a general rule, if it’s covered by Medicare for residents and citizens, then your Bupa OSHC will cover it, up to 100% of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee. If your provider charges more than the MBS fee, you’ll need to pay the difference, also known as a gap payment or out of pocket cost.

But the cost of your testing or treatment can vary depending on the provider. You can always ask for a quote (including MBS item numbers) before you begin any treatment, so you can work out if there will be any cost for you (gap) if they charge more than the MBS fee.

Selected prescribed pharmacy items are generally covered, up to the per person and yearly limits for your cover. Contact us to find out whether the medication you’ve been prescribed is covered.

Getting in touch

How do I contact Bupa?

You can speak to us between 8am and 6pm (AEST) on 1800 888 942 from within Australia or +61 3 9937 4223 from overseas. You can also email us at students@bupa.com.au and we’ll get back to you three business days.



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Can I send you some feedback?

Please feel free to contact us  with any questions or feedback.