OSHC is health insurance to assist international students (and their dependents, such as spouses and children under 18 years old) to afford the costs of unplanned medical and hospital care while they study in Australia. It is a requirement by the Department of Home Affairs that you must have OSHC and that you maintain this throughout your studies in Australia.
OSHC provides a safety net for medical expenses for international students, similar to that provided to Australians through Medicare. Additionally, OSHC includes access to some private hospitals and day surgeries, ambulance cover and benefits for pharmaceuticals.
If you come to Australia on a visa other than a student visa and undertake a short course of study of three months duration or less (for example an ELICOS course) you will not be eligible for OSHC. It is wise to purchase travel or private medical insurance in this case.
You will have been asked for an OSHC payment in the Eynesbury offer package you received and when you arrive, Eynesbury will organise your OSHC card with your enrolment. Take note of the expiry date and make sure you extend the OSHC when the cover ends. Read more about OSHC on Allianz Care Australia’s website, including how to claim or receive support, or visit the Department of Home Affairs’ website or privatehealth.gov.au for more information.
If you need to visit a doctor or medical centre, show your card at the end of the visit. You will be charged the doctor’s fee and the government fee component of that may be processed by the medical centre. If the medical centre is not able to process the government fee, pay the total amount, keep the receipt and you can claim the government fee back from your OSHC provider.
In Australia you do not have to go to a hospital to see a doctor. You can see a doctor (also known as a GP – General Practitioner) in their private practice or medical centre, with part or the entire doctor’s fee being covered by Medicare or OSHC. You must make an appointment to see a GP. It is important to note that some GP surgeries will request full payment from you at the time of consultation and you will need to present the receipt to claim the rebate back from your health cover provider.
GP surgeries do not have medications to dispense to you. You must take the prescription given to you by the doctor to a Pharmacy or Chemist to obtain the medication. You will need to provide the pharmacy with your OSHC card, your full name and address. You are able to walk in off the street to any pharmacy/chemist/drug store in Australia and will only have to wait a short while for your prescription medicine to be prepared. There are many pharmacies around Adelaide and the suburbs including several near the Central Market, a few minutes walk from both the Coglin Street and Franklin Street campuses.
Medication prescribed by your doctor is not free. You must pay the pharmacy. If the cost is more than a certain amount you can claim the difference back from your OSHC provider. (Ring your OSHC representative for current amounts as they change).
Pharmacies/chemists also provide a variety of over-the-counter medications useful for treating colds, headaches, allergies and the like which do not require a prescription. Ask the pharmacist on duty for advice regarding the best medication for your symptoms. Ensure that you advise the pharmacist of any other medications you may be taking. Over-the-counter medications are not covered by OSHC.
Dental and optical services are not covered by your OSHC unless you take out extra cover. A first visit to a dentist will usually cost around $50 but both dentists’ and optometrists’ fees vary considerably. It is a good idea to ask for an estimate of the cost of treatment before you visit. If you need to see a dentist or optometrist you will need to make an appointment and pay the full fee of this service at the time of the appointment. You can receive support in finding providers through your OSHC service.
We are lucky in Australia to have a variety of healthcare professionals from many different cultural backgrounds, so you may be able to see a doctor who speaks your first language. However, if you are having difficulties communicating with your doctor, the Translation and Interpreter Service (TIS) can be used. For more information visit their website or phone 131 450 (within Australia) for immediate phone interpreting (24 hours, every day of the year).