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How to use OSHC cover

Step 1

Once you purchased your OSHC, your OSHC provider will send you a welcome communication within 24 hours. 

You will also receive your OSHC certificate of cover showing your name (and your spouse and dependent children if you buy a family cover), cover period and policy number. You will also be given instructions on how to:

  • Activate (if required) your OSHC so that you can use it when you arrive in Australia;
  • Cancel your OSHC if your student visa application is denied;
  • Change your cover period; 
  • Use 24/7 helpline for their services.

Step 2

As an overseas student, you will need a copy of your OSHC certificate to obtain or extend your visa with the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. If you have an IDP counsellor, you must send them a copy so that they can organise your visa for you.  

Step 3

When you arrive in Australia, you may need to activate your OSHC policy and you can begin using it (but hopefully you won’t need to!)

What to do if you are sick or injured

Unless you are in a remote area of Australia, you are never far from medical help, with a wide range of friendly and well-trained healthcare professionals. 

Navigating the healthcare system in Australia can be confusing. If you are unsure what to do or you are not sure whether you are covered for a treatment or service, contact your OSHC provider to discuss. They may offer access to 24-hour helplines for medical assistance and advice and may even be able to connect you with an interpreter service.

If you have a medical emergency 

If you have a life-threatening medical emergency, go to your nearest public hospital emergency department or call 000 (Emergency Services) immediately for help. All public hospitals have a 24-hour emergency and casualty department, so you will always be able to get help. 

You may have to wait a while if your injury or medical condition is not as urgent as others who are waiting. 

If you have any questions about your payment arrangements for treatment or transportation in an emergency, call your OSHC provider. 

If you need to go to hospital

There are two types of hospital in Australia - public and private. It can be hard to understand the rules about what’s covered in hospital, so we recommend that before you go into a hospital for treatment, you contact your OSHC provider. They will help estimate your costs and suggest the best option for you. 

If you want to see a doctor

If you feel unwell but do not need help urgently, you may want to visit a GP (doctor) at a medical centre. A GP or General Practitioner can assess and treat general health problems and injuries, prescribe medicines and refer you for simple diagnostic testing if it’s required. They can also connect you with specialists for more complex issues. 

If you prefer to see a certain doctor for cultural reasons, or you wish to see only a male or female doctor, it is usually possible. Just remember to ask when you book your appointment. 

Your OSHC provider can assist you finding a medical center or alternative medical advice that is convenient for you.

If you need advice about something minor

If you have a minor health concern, you can ask a pharmacist for clinical advice. They are very knowledgeable and will be happy to help you.

If you need to buy medicines

If you need basic medicines like cough and cold remedies or mild painkillers, you can simply walk into any pharmacy and buy them. These are called over-the-counter medicines. Some over-the- counter medicines, like asthma inhalers, can only be sold to you after you have spoken to the pharmacist.

You can also buy some over-the-counter medicines in supermarkets and health food stores, which have a large range of alternative medicines.

OSHC  FAQS

How do I make a claim? 

When you receive treatment in hospital and/or are visiting a doctor or specialist, you can make a claim via your OSHC providers online services or via your mobile phone using your OSHC providers app (if available). Alternatively, you can send a copy of your receipt by mail,  hand in to an on campus facility or  at your OSHC providers store front.. If the claim is approved, the money is usually credited to your preferred bank account or credit union account within a few days. 

Can I upgrade my OSHC if it no longer suits my needs?

Yes, as long as you have OSHC and you are meeting your visa requirements.

What happens to my OSHC if I leave Australia? 

Your OSHC will end on the day you leave Australia, the day you no longer hold a Student Visa, or on the expiry date shown on your Certificate of Insurance, whichever happens first. 

However, if you leave Australia on a holiday but return before the expiry date shown on your Certificate of Insurance and you still hold a current Student Visa when you return, your OSHC will resume on your return to Australia and continue for the remaining period of your cover.  Please contact your Health Provider for more information

If you go home earlier than expected for any reason, you can get a refund for the remaining cover period.

What if I cancel my OSHC?

Australian immigration rules are quite strict. If you cancel your insurance, you won’t be meeting your visa requirements any more. Your visa could be cancelled and it might be hard for you to get a new visa in the future. Please contact your OSHC provider for more information.

Compare OSHC providers

IDP can help you compare and choose the right OSHC to meet your Australian visa requirements. And when you’re ready to decide, you can apply online.

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