Use this button to quickly leave the website
Quick Exit
Visit the blog

Overseas student health cover, private health insurance, private health fund… What is the difference?

Overseas student health cover

As an international student in Australia, you are required to have overseas student health cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your study in Australia. OSHC includes cover for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatment, ambulance cover and limited medicines.  

Private health insurance

Private health insurance can give you more choice in your healthcare. Along with OSHC, some students may choose to purchase private health insurance to cover items that OSHC does not cover.

Private health fund

Private health funds, such as CBHS, provide OSHC as well as different private health insurance options.

For more info, download the overseas students health cover fact sheet HERE.


What is overseas student health cover (OSHC)?

OSHC helps international students to cover any medical expenses that may occur during your stay.


Who needs OSHC?

If you are a student from overseas on a temporary student visa, it is a condition of your visa to purchase and maintain OSHC for the duration of your stay as a student in Australia.

For more info on who needs OSHC, click HERE.


What is the difference between OSHC and Medicare? 

Medicare is the system provided by the Australian Government which gives Australian citizens and most permanent Australian resident’s medical services at a reduced cost, or free. Most international students are not covered under Medicare and are required to purchase OSHC.

For more info on Medicare and OSHC for students, click HERE.

For more info on OSHC with CBHS, click HERE.


What does my OSHC provide?

Depending on which plan you choose, most OSHC policies will either fully or partially cover:

  • Visits to your General Practitioner (GP) and any medical treatment
  • Specialist medical services such as pathology and radiology
  • Public and private hospital stays and any medical treatment
  • Certain medications prescribed by your GP
  • Emergency ambulance trips to the hospital

Your OSHC policy member guide provides you with the details of your specific policy on what is and isn’t included.

Download the CBHS OSHC policy guide HERE and see page 6 to see more details on what is covered.


What doesn’t my OSHC provider cover?

There are some medical services that OSHC will not cover and require you to pay the full fee. If you use medication that wasn’t prescribed by a GP or isn’t included under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), you’ll need to pay the full amount yourself. You will also need to pay for other medical services when it costs more than the amount for which you are covered. Your OSHC member guide provides you with the details of your specific policy on what is and isn’t included.

For more information about what is not covered with CBHS OSHC, download the policy guide HERE and see page 10.


Is my family covered?

Just like OSHC is a requirement of your student visa, your spouse and children (if they’re under 18) will need OSHC before arriving in Australia.

Contact your CBHS OSHC provider to add your family members as dependents on your OSHC policy.


What is the PBS?

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is an Australian Government program that reduces the cost of medicines to make them more affordable.

See more on the PBS, click HERE.


What are gap fees (co-payments)? 

A gap fee is an expense you need to pay when you receive medical care that costs more than what you can claim from your OSHC. To avoid this, use your OSHC Direct Billing providers.

For more info on gap fees with CBHS, click HERE.


What is an OSHC Direct Billing provider?

If you see a doctor that is on your OSHC direct billing provider list, they will send the bill directly to your OSHC provider. This means you usually won’t have to pay an upfront payment at the time of your appointment. 

You may need to show your OSHC membership card with photo ID for the bill/ invoice to be sent to your OSHC provider. There may also be out-of-pocket costs if the bill is above what your OSHC covers.

If you see a doctor that is not on your OSHC direct billing provider list, you will need to pay the bill/invoice.

To find a CBHS OSHC direct billing provider, click HERE.


What is a waiting period?

A waiting period is the time you need to wait between the date you purchased your OSHC policy and when you are eligible to claim on some types of medical services. This means you cannot claim during the waiting period and will need to pay.

For more info on wait periods with CBHS OSHC, click HERE.


How do I make a claim? 

You can make claims online, in store, by mail or via your OSHC provider. Always keep your receipts so you can submit your claim.

For more info on how to claim with CBHS OSHC, click HERE.


Will my parents know what I have used my OSHC for?

When you purchased your OSHC, you may have used your parents or agent’s contact details (e.g. an email address). If you do not want anyone else to see your personal information you may need to update your details with your OSHC provider. Your OSHC provider will only share your personal information with you and anyone you allow them to.

For more info on CHBS OSHC privacy, click HERE.


How can I access an interpreter?   

If you would like a translator or interpreter to help discuss an issue with your doctor, you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service by calling 131 450. Available 24/7.


How much will an interpreter cost me?

Although your OSHC provider may not cover the cost of interpreters for all services, there are free interpreters available HERE and in government hospitals and clinics. Always ask for an interpreter if you would like one.


How much will my prescription medication cost me?

Your OSHC may require you to pay a contribution towards the cost of each eligible medicine before they pay any benefits.

For more info, click HERE.


What do I do if I’m taken to hospital?

For hospital treatment, you will need to contact your OSHC provider as soon as you can with the details of your hospital care. They will then help arrange the necessary payment to the hospital. In a medical emergency, always immediately seek treatment. The hospital staff can help with your insurance afterwards. Always carry your OSHC membership card with you.

For more information on what to do if you get sick in Australia with CBHS, click HERE.


Does my OSHC automatically update once my baby is born?

You will need to upgrade your OSHC policy before your baby is born to cover your baby.

Contact your OSHC provider during your pregnancy for specific information.

For more info, click HERE.


Will my baby be an Australian citizen?

If you are having a baby in Australia your baby will not automatically become an Australian citizen. If neither parent is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident at the time of birth, your baby will hold the same visa subclass as you.

For more info about pregnancy and you with CBHS OSHC, click HERE.

For more info, see HERE.


OSHC with CBHS International Health

For CBHS OSHC frequently asked questions, click HERE.


Need more info?

Contact CBHS.

Ask a nurse Ask a nurse a question