Planning to come to Australia to study?

As you're planning to set off on one of the biggest adventures of your life, there is plenty to organise. But before you can even apply for your Australian Student visa, you will need to arrange some Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to help you pay for hospital and medical costs while you are here.

You've come to the right place. You can research and apply for your OSHC online, right here. Once you have applied, you can download an official ahm OSHC certificate to use for your visa application.

Plus, to help you make the most of your time in Australia, we are working with a range of partners to offer services tailored for overseas students like banking, mobile phones, accommodation and much more.

About ahm

Australian Health Management (or ahm for short) has been providing health insurance in Australia for more than 40 years. We have over 360,000 satisfied members including Australian residents and overseas students, like you.

By choosing ahm OSHC you'll receive great value cover for most of your medical, hospital, ambulance and medication needs. You can claim online or over the phone and get a super-fast benefit payment, usually within 2 working days.

As an ahm OSHC member you also get access to:

  • an interpreter service
  • stress & trauma counselling
  • a 24 hour helpline for emergency medical assistance
  • a rewards program offering great discounts
  • partners who offer deals on a range of goods and services

    Download Video: MP4 WEBM

    WHY DO I NEED OSHC?
    Most overseas students are not eligible for free or subsidised medical treatment in hospitals under Australia’s healthcare system (Medicare). OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) is health insurance designed to help you pay for medical & hospital treatment in case you get sick or have an accident while living and studying in Australia. You MUST have OSHC to apply for your student visa and it’s a condition of your visa that you are covered for the whole time you are studying in Australia under a student visa. Without OSHC you would have to pay the FULL cost of your medical or hospital expenses which can be very expensive (possibly thousands of dollars).
    FIND OUT MORE WHAT ahm OSHC COSTS
    Back To Top
    Watch the Video

    Things you might need for a healthy stay

    As an overseas student you usually won't have access to our national health system, Medicare. That's where ahm OSHC comes in. If you get sick, we will help pay the cost of medical services covered by your OSHC policy while you are here.

    What do I do if I get sick?

    Many minor illnesses can be treated with medicine from a pharmacy. However, if you're sick your first stop should be a visit to a family doctor (called a GP or General Practitioner) - the GP will then advise you on what you need to do next.

    • What is a GP?

      In Australia, the family doctor is called a GP (or General Practitioner). Except for in an emergency, the first person you will visit will be the GP - and you can find GPs all over the place.

      Find a GP near you

      Find your nearest direct billing medical centre

    • When should I go?

      Go to the GP for minor medical issues (such as stomach ache, sneezing, coughing, fever, a skin rash, diarrhoea). The GP can provide you with advice and a prescription for medication to treat your illness. The GP can also refer you for an x-ray or blood tests or to a specialist doctor if this is necessary.

    • How does ahm OSHC help?

      Medicare sets a 'scheduled fee' (known as the MBS Fee) for doctor visits and ahm OSHC will cover between 85% and 100% of that fee.

      Most of the time you'll have to pay the doctor's fee and then claim the money back from us afterwards. However, some doctors will charge ahm direct so:

      • if the doctor charges the MBS Fee, you may not have to pay anything
      • if the doctor charges more than the MBS Fee, you will have to pay the difference.

      Tip: Show your ahm OSHC card and ask what the visit will cost you beforehand.

    • What is a Hospital?

      In Australia there are public hospitals (owned and run by the government) and private hospitals. We have partnerships with some private hospitals. You can choose where you wish to have your medical treatment.

      Find a partner private hospital near you

    • When should I go?

      Hospitals are used for medical emergencies and for operations.

      If you go to hospital for a minor issue, you'll wait a long time before seeing the doctor.

    • How will ahm OSHC help?

      Whether you choose a public hospital or a partner private hospital, as long as you've served the applicable waiting periods, we cover the full cost of accommodation and operating theatre fees during your stay.

      We cover up to the government's set fee (MBS Fee) for treatment by the doctor. (But the doctor may charge higher than the MBS Fee, in which case you'll pay the difference between the MBS Fee and what the doctor charges.)

      We cover all accident and emergency services, including the cost of the ambulance if medically necessary.

      Remember if you choose a private hospital that is not one of our partners, you'll need to pay the difference between the default benefit and the hospital's charge. This could be very expensive and run into thousands of dollars.

      Tip: Call us before you decide on a hospital to see what you're covered for.

    • What is a pharmacy?

      The pharmacy is a place that sells medicines and other health-related items. Some of these medicines are only available when prescribed by a doctor.

      Pharamacists can often give you advice on minor illnesses and give you non-prescription medicines to treat them.

      Find a pharmacy near you

    • When should I go?

      If your doctor gives you a prescription for medicine, the pharmacy is where you need to go to get it.

      Pharmacists can give you medicines for some minor illnesses like headache, fever, coughs and sneezes without a prescription.

      You can also buy bandages, vitamins and other health-related items at the pharmacy.

    • How will ahm OSHC help?

      ahm OSHC covers part of the cost of any prescription medications. OSHC pays part and you pay part.

      Benefits are not payable on over-the-counter medicines or vitamins.

      Tip: The pharmacist is a good source of health knowledge - ask for their advice.

    What does ahm OSHC cover?

    • GP Doctor & Specialist Services
      Cover for GP Doctor standard consultations – for treatment in a doctor’s surgery or medical centre, or anywhere outside a hospital. We pay 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee (MBS Fee) for General Practitioners' standard consultations (doctors may charge above MBS Fee) and 85% of the MBS Fee for other out-of-hospital services. Waiting periods may apply.
    • Pathology & X-rays
      For services such as blood tests and x-rays, we pay either 85% of the MBS Fee for out-of-hospital services or 100% of the MBS Fee for in-hospital services.
      Waiting periods may apply.
    • Hospitals - public & private
      For treatment in public hospitals, partner private hospitals & day surgeries - including accommodation, operating theatre, day services, emergency and accident services, outpatient medical and post operative services. You may incur out-of-pocket expenses. Waiting periods may apply.
    • Emergency Ambulance Services
      We cover 100% of the cost of emergency transportation in an ambulance.
    • Prescription Medicines
      For medicines & other prescription items prescribed by a doctor. You pay a set amount towards the cost (PBS amount) and we pay the rest, up to a maximum of $50 per item to a maximum of $300 for a single membership ($600 family). As an overseas student, you may face significant out of pocket costs if you need treatment with "high cost" pharmaceuticals, particularly oncology (cancer) treatment. Waiting periods may apply.
    • Surgically Implanted Prostheses
      We cover the full cost of any No Gap prostheses and the minimum benefit for Gap permitted prostheses. Surgically implanted prostheses could include, for example, stents for coronary arteries, artificial hips/knees or titanium plates/screws for reconstructions & bone breaks. Waiting periods may apply.

    You'll find a full list of the things which aren't covered by ahm OSHC in the policy document.

    If you need to use a service like those listed above, you can take out an additional cover - called Extras cover. Otherwise you'll have to pay for this treatment yourself.

    Great News! We've removed the 2 and 6 months waiting periods from all our Extras covers. So now’s a great time to join.

    JOIN ahm OSHC TODAY
    Have you arrived in Australia yet?
    Back To Top

    Questions & Answers

    We realise that OSHC is not the first thing on your mind right now, but we've put together some of our most popular questions here so if and when you do have questions you can find the answers here in one place.

    Get More Info
    • What is OSHC?
      Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) helps you pay for hospital and medical services which you may need while studying in Australia.
    • Why do I need OSHC?
      As an overseas student, it is a requirement of your overseas student visa that you have OSHC when you apply for your visa and then keep it for the entire duration of your stay in Australia under the student visa.
    • Where can I find all the important information I need to know about ahm OSHC?
      To find out more about ahm OSHC download a copy of the ahm OSHC policy document.
    • What if I have a family or dependants?
      They will not be covered under your singles policy. You should take out an ahm OSHC family policy to cover your spouse or de-facto partner or any child or step child who is unmarried and under the age of 18. We also have Extras cover for families. For more information download the ahm OSHC policy brochure and either the Basic Extras brochure or the Family Extras brochure.
    • What if I have a pre-existing condition?

      You or one of your dependants has a pre-existing condition if the signs or symptoms of the ailment, illness or condition you have (in the opinion of a Medical Practitioner appointed by ahm) existed at any time in the 6 month period before you or your dependant arrived in Australia on a student visa. For pre-existing medical conditions and pregnancy related services including childbirth there is a waiting period of 12 months. That means you won't be covered for these conditions until the waiting period is over. For a pre-existing condition of a psychiatric nature, there is waiting period of 2 months.

      More information about waiting periods can be found in the ahm OSHC policy document.

    • What am I covered for by ahm OSHC?

      We pay for the following services but please remember it is important that you should contact us prior to any major treatments, especially staying in the hospital.

      • Doctors*: We pay 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee (MBS Fee) for General Practitioners' standard consultations (doctors may charge above the MBS Fee) and 85% of the MBS Fee for other out-of-hospital services.
      • Hospitals*: Including accommodation, operating theatre, day services, emergency and accident services, outpatient medical and post operative services.
      • Prescription Medicines*: You pay a set amount towards the cost (PBS amount) and we pay the rest, up to a maximum of $50 per item to a maximum of $300 for a single membership ($600 family). As an overseas student, you may face significant out of pocket costs if you need treatment with "high cost" pharmaceuticals, particularly oncology (cancer) treatment.
      • Pathology and X-rays*: We pay 85% of the MBS Fee for out-of-hospital services or 100% of the MBS Fee for in-hospital services.
      • Emergency ambulance transport*: We cover 100% of the cost of emergency transportation in an ambulance.
      • Prosthetic devices: We cover the full cost of any No Gap prostheses and the minimum benefit for Gap permitted prostheses. Surgically implanted prostheses could include, for example, stents for coronary arteries, artificial hips/knees or titanium plates/screws for reconstructions & bone breaks.

      Waiting periods may apply. For full details of what you’re covered for, download a copy of the ahm OSHC policy document

      *Important: Waiting periods apply for pre-existing conditions. That is, an ailment, illness or condition which either you or one of your dependants have, the signs or symptoms of which, in the opinion of a Medical Practitioner appointed by ahm, existed at any time in the 6 month period before you or your dependant arrived in Australia. For pre-existing medical conditions and pregnancy related services including childbirth there is a waiting period of 12 months. That means you won't be covered for these conditions until the waiting period is over. For a pre-existing condition of a psychiatric nature, there is a waiting period of 2 months.

      More information about waiting periods can be found in the ahm OSHC policy document

    • What is direct billing?
      Direct billing is when you visit your General Practitioner (GP) and your GP charges you the MBS Fee. Some doctors have arrangements with ahm to bill ahm directly for the full MBS amount so you won't have any out-of-pocket expenses. Not all GPs direct bill.
    • Will OSHC cover me when I travel overseas or if I'm on holiday?
      OSHC only covers you while you are in Australia. If you travel outside of Australia you'll need to take out Travel Insurance – ahm offers "Cover-More", click to find out more.
    • What about cover for dental care and prescription glasses?
      You can purchase more cover to have benefits for a range of other services such as dental services, prescription glasses, physiotherapy and chiropractic. Select ahm OSHC Basic Extras or Family Extras. Please remember that this cover doesn't satisfy your visa requirement and can only be purchased in addition to ahm OSHC. Some waiting periods will apply.
    • Am I covered once I finish studying?
      ahm OSHC covers you for the duration of your student visa. If you plan to stay in Australia after your student visa expires, you'll need to apply for another visa that is specific to your future needs. Visit www.immi.gov.au for more information. If you obtain a different visa (eg an overseas visitor visa, a working visa) you will need to organise different health insurance, as OSHC can only cover you while you are on a student visa.
    • How do I make a claim?

      There are several convenient ways to make a claim and we can deposit benefits to your nominated Australian bank account or send you a cheque.

      • Online or Phone: Firstly, you need to nominate an Australian bank account so that we can deposit your benefit. To make a claim, log in to member services or call 134 246. Let us know details of your claim and the benefit will be sent to you usually within 2 working days. Remember to print the claim form, attach your receipts and post to OSHC.
      • Post: Mail a claim form and invoices or receipts to: ahm OSHC, Locked Bag 1006, Matraville NSW 2036. Please ensure your address details are written on the claim form.
      • In person: Visit our Head Office in Wollongong (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm).

      For more about how to claim, download the How to claim flyer.

    • When will I get my membership card?
      When you arrive in Australia, visit the ahm OSHC web site and click 'yes' where it asks 'have you arrived in Australia yet?'. Follow the steps to update your information and we will send your membership card to your Australian residential address. It’s really important that you do this as soon as you arrive so that you’re properly covered.
    • What if I lose my membership card?
      Just visit ahm OSHC member services to log in and re-order your card, or give us a call on 134 246.
    • How can I apply for ahm OSHC?
      • Online: You can join online.
      • Phone: Call 134 246
      • Post: Mail a registration form to ahm OSHC, Locked Bag 1006, Matraville NSW 2036, Australia.
    • What if I need extra help?

      Need an interpreter? Want to speak to a counsellor? Feel sick but not sure what to do? Call our Helpline on 1800 006 745 for 24 hour a day assistance. Print out an emergency contact list

    • How do I update my personal details?

      It's important to let us know when you move. To change your personal details, log in to member services or call us on 134 246.

    • What happens if I don't keep my OSHC current?

      The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) requires holders of a student visa to maintain OSHC for their entire stay in Australia. If you allow your cover to lapse, you will be in breach of your visa conditions. You'll also need to renew your OSHC and have to back-pay for any period that you were not covered by OSHC. In addition, you are not entitled to receive benefits for periods when you were not covered by OSHC even if you re-activate your policy and backdate your payments for that period. This may also result in you having to pay very significant hospital, medical or other costs yourself.

    If you can't find the information you're looking for, please call us on 134 246 or email us on oshcemail@ahm.com.au

    All about Australia

    No doubt you've been researching our fantastic country for some time now - but it's not just Bondi Beach and kangaroos. This section contains practical information and helpful links to make sure your transition to Australia is super smooth.

    Before you leave

    You're about to experience the adventure of a lifetime - so it's likely you're feeling as nervous as you are excited! We understand how easy it might be to forget the smaller things before you leave home so we have put together a helpful checklist. Print it now.

    After you arrive

    Arriving in an unfamiliar country is daunting. Everything around you is new and different. Now you can be fully prepared with our Free Overseas Student Guide - a handy reference

    containing everything you'll ever need from what to pack and what to expect when you arrive to hints and tips about living, studying and working in Australia, and what to do before you return home. Download Guide.

    History

    Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, and the largest island. Australia was inhabited exclusively by Indigenous Australians (Aboriginals) until the British landed in 1788 and proclaimed Australia for Great Britain. Australia became a member of the Commonwealth of the British Empire in 1901. From these beginnings, Australia has developed into a very multicultural place offering great variety and many opportunities.

    Climate

    Australia is typically divided into two climate zones - the south and the north (above the tropics). The south has four seasons, whilst the north has two - summer 'wet season' and winter 'dry season'. Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed. So, for example, summer is from December to February.

    Time zones

    Australia is a large country, so it is divided into three time zones.

    In the warmer months of the year (usually from October to March), all states and territories (except Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Queensland) operate under daylight saving time (DLS). Clocks are advanced 1 hour for the duration of daylight savings time.

    Government

    A democratic country, Australia is run by a Prime Minister who is elected every three years, the country is divided into six States and two Territories, each run by a Premier. The Queen of Great Britain is still the head of State and is represented in Australia by the Governor General.

     

    aus-map

    Adjusting to a new culture

    Living in a foreign country is an experience you may be looking forward to with excitement and enthusiasm. However, living in a foreign country is different, and everyone usually suffers from 'culture shock' in one way or another.

    Here are a few tips to help you settle in:

    • Stay positive, try talking to others who have been through the same situation.
    • Spend time with other students both from overseas and Australia and try and make friends.
    • Be patient and if you need to talk to someone try a friend or the student counsellor at your education institution.

    Working in Australia

    Like many international students you may need to get a part-time or casual job to help pay your living expenses while you study. Australian student visa holders are normally eligible to work up to 20 hours a week during semester, and full-time during holidays.

    Scholarship

    If you have a scholarship, you should check the conditions of the scholarship to make sure you are allowed to work. You cannot commence working until you have started your course. Any work you have to undertake as work experience as part of your course is not included in the 20 hrs.

    Tax File Number

    Before you begin work, you will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). You can do this online. When you start work, your employer will ask you to complete a Tax file number declaration form which allows you to quote your tax file number (TFN) and provide other information to help your employer work out the amount of tax you need to pay.

    Superannuation

    You may be entitled to superannuation depending on your total monthly income. Your employer is required by law to pay money into a superannuation fund for you if you meet the criteria.

    Studying in Australia

    You may find Australian teaching very different to what you have been used to. The focus here is on practical learning with teachers providing you with a thorough understanding of a topic rather than teaching you the correct words and phrases for exams.

    At universities

    Lectures might be attended by around 200 students from different courses within the same subject area, whilst a tutorial is much smaller with only about 30 students attending. At vocational education and training (VET) institutes, lectures and tutorials are usually combined and attendance is much smaller.

    Final marks

    Your final marks for a unit (subject) will be based on a combination of your performance in assignments (written or practical); exams; class participation (how much you speak up and contribute in discussions); group activities and class attendance.

    Laws to protect

    Australia has a number of laws to protect you when studying at an institution. These laws are part of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislation. Institutions that accept international students are required to provide quality courses and meet the national standards.

    As an overseas student you can reasonably expect:

    • Protection if the institution defaults on the course by providing either a refund of course money or placement into an alternative course through the Tuition Assurance Scheme.
    • Course information via web, or printed brochures must be accurate and not contain misleading information.
    • To gain a clear understanding of the course content and duration, qualifications attained at completion, teaching and assessment methods, course completion and English language requirements, course related fees and any student support services available.

    The institutions must also support international students in adjusting to study in Australia and supply such information as:

    • Orientations - understanding campus, training system, support services and OSHC
    • Academic progress
    • Further pathway courses and studies
    • Accommodation information

    Useful resources & partnerships

    ahm OSHC is developing some great partnerships with Australian companies who can help you get ready for your stay in Australia, and enhance your experience while you are here.

    NAB

    As one of Australia’s largest banks, National Australia Bank (NAB) provides a comprehensive international student offering. Their specialist migrant and international student team provide a personal service that includes account opening before you leave home and a named banker assigned to you for your convenience.

    Their service includes:

    • The ability to open an account up to one year before you arrive.
    • No application fees or minimum deposit requirements.
    • Accounts with no monthly account keeping fees, even after you finish studying.
    • A Visa debit card at no additional cost.
    • A named banker who will have your bank cards ready for you on arrival giving you immediate access to your funds.
    • Confirmation of your new bank details within 5 business days.
    Independent student living

    Looking for quality hotel style accommodation and peace of mind? Independant student living offers long- and short-term accommodation options to suit all your needs. Clickhere to view the solution to your accommodation problems!

    JOIN ahm OSHC TODAY Disclaimer Back To Top

    Real Stories

    The following stories are real.

    JOIN ahm OSHC TODAY