While specific levels of cover may vary between the five Australian health funds currently authorised to provide OSHC (Allianz Global Assistance, Medibank, nib, ahm, and Bupa), you can treat this guide as a very broad overview of what you can generally expect to be covered for under your OSHC policy.
What am I guaranteed cover for?
The Department of Health’s OSHC section states that all OSHC products must provide cover for:
- The benefit amount listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for out-of-hospital medical services (e.g. a general practitioner cdoctor)
- 100% of the MBS fee for in-patient medical services (e.g. surgery)
- Public hospital shared-ward accommodation
- Private hospital shared-ward accommodation (with private hospitals that have an arrangement with the health fund in question)
- Day surgery accommodation
- Some prosthetic devices
- Pharmaceutical benefits up to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300/year for a single membership ($600/year for a family membership)
- Ambulance services
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Depending on the product in question, and the level of cover arranged for, your OSHC policy may also provide cover for general treatment (also known as ancillary/extras cover), which covers things like dental, optical, and physiotherapy.
However, beyond what’s listed above, what you will be covered for will vary depending on the health fund and OSHC product you take out. Additionally, see here for a list of things that OSHC does not cover.
You can search for OSHC using the Canstar comparison website. See below for a comparison of OSHC products for an overseas student studying on a 4-year study visa. Results are sorted by Canstar Star Rating (highest to lowest).
Remember waiting periods!
It’s important to keep in mind that all five OSHC providers impose waiting periods for certain treatments:
- 12-month waiting period for treatment related to pre-existing medical conditions and pregnancy-related services (including childbirth)
- 2-month waiting period for treatment related to a pre-existing medical condition of a psychiatric nature (except Medibank, who have no waiting period on psychiatric treatment)
These waiting periods are counted from the day you arrive in Australia on your student visa.