Between the two types of cover, that adds up to a lot of policies in place, it’s good news that in 2013, the Health Insurance Ombudsman had to assist with only 138 claims arising from either Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) policies.
What do we complain about?
While there are a number of issues that gave rise to a complaint to the Health Insurance Ombudsman in 2013, the four most common issues of contention were:
Delay in payment of benefit: 11% of complainants were unhappy with the length of time that it took to pay a claim.
Pre-existing conditions (PECs): Just over 10% of claims arose due to the pre-existing condition clause in the health insurance policies.
To quote the HIO Annual Report for 2013:
“Complaints about the application of the PEC waiting period tend to be complicated because information about a person’s medical history before coming to Australia is held overseas. In addition, the length of the PEC waiting period varies between policies.”
Oral Advice: Just under 10% of complaints received related to oral advice given to the insured by the insurer.
Cancellation: Cancellation of cover was the subject matter of more than 7% of claims.
There were also a number of other issues, including general service issues, premium payment problems, hospital restriction/exclusion complaints, informed financial consent and other insurer rules which attracted complaints over the course of the year. As mentioned though, the number of complaints, compared to the number of existing policies, was reasonably small.
Who offers OSHC/OVHC?
A number of health insurance providers offer OSHC and OVHC respectively. Students can read a summary of the health care providers for OSHC.