Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) covers the cost of out-of-hospital medical treatment, pharmaceuticals, and emergency ambulance services while you are in Australia.

The Australian government has recently updated information regarding student visas during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, see our FAQs.

Do you need OSHC?

The Department of Home Affairs requires almost all student visa applicants to have OSHC. There are a few exemptions for students from Sweden, Norway and Belgium, who may already have special arrangements under their own national schemes.

Your OSHC must be supplied by an Australian insurer, and the insurer must have an agreement with the Australian Government to offer OSHC. Health insurance that isn’t approved by the Australian Department of Health will not meet the OSHC criteria for getting a student visa.

Only applicants for or holders of a student visa are eligible for OSHC.

You can find out more about OSHC by visiting the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website.

Choosing OSHC

Arranging OSHC through the University

The University of Melbourne can arrange visa-length coverage for you, provided by Bupa.

This policy is designed for University of Melbourne international students, and you benefit from having a Bupa representative on campus to answer your health cover questions. The policy is approved by the Department of Home Affairs and can be the most convenient option for students. Review the policy details to check whether this policy is right for you.

To arrange this cover, simply indicate on your Student Acceptance and Payment Agreement form that you’d like the University to arrange a visa-length OSHC policy for you. You’ll also need to pay the OSHC premium along with your tuition fee deposit.

Once you’ve done this, we will create a policy document for you. The policy start and end dates will be indicated on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). You’ll be covered from the date that you arrive in Australia, and you can order your OSHC card when you arrive in the country.

For information about Bupa OSHC cover and COVID-19, please visit the BUPA website.

Arranging OSHC through an alternative provider

Alternatively, you can choose to purchase OSHC from an approved Australian health insurance provider. You’ll need to contact the provider directly to set up your policy with them.

When you complete your Student Acceptance and Payment Agreement form, you must indicate that you’ve already purchased OSHC for the duration of your visa.

Length of cover

You need to ensure that you have OSHC coverage for the entire duration of your student visa, as well as any time you plan to spend in Australia once you finish studying. If your OSHC lapses, the Department of Home Affairs will automatically cancel your visa.

To extend your OSHC, please email students@bupa.com.au from your student email address, quoting your student number, full name, date of birth and the new OSHC end date.

You can also make an online Bupa appointment via my.unimelb. Simply choose “Stop 1” and then “Book an Appointment”.

The tables below indicate how long your policy should be.

Undergraduate and Masters by coursework students

Length of Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) Ensure OSHC lasts until
10 months or longer, finishing in November to December 15 March the following year
10 months or longer, finishing from January until October An additional two months on top of the CoE end date
Other 1 month after your course end date

Masters by research and PhD students

The length of stay for graduate research students is generally six months longer than the usual relevant period set out in the table above to account for the thesis examination period.

Healthcare for other visa types

Only student visa holders require OSHC. It is recommended (and often a visa requirement) that you have adequate health insurance when travelling on a different type of temporary visa.

If you or your family are visiting, working, or working and holidaying in Australia, there are other Bupa insurance options available to you. You can also contact Bupa at students@bupa.com.au for support.

Reciprocal arrangements

Australia has reciprocal health care arrangements with several countries, including Great Britain, Finland, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Malta and the Netherlands. Visitors from these countries are entitled to limited subsidised health services.

Permanent visas

Most applicants for or holders of a permanent visa are eligible to enrol in Medicare, Australia’s health care system.

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