Health Insurance for International Students in Australia: Costs and Options

Australia is a popular destination for international students, offering world-class education, diverse cultures, and stunning landscapes. However, understanding health insurance requirements and costs is crucial for a smooth and secure stay. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about health insurance for international students in Australia, focusing on costs, coverage options, and how to choose the best plan for your needs.

Why Health Insurance is Essential for International Students in Australia

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in Australia. The Australian government requires students to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their stay. Here are the primary reasons why health insurance is essential:

1. **Legal Requirement**: To obtain a student visa (subclass 500), you must have OSHC. This ensures that you have access to medical care while studying in Australia.
2. **High Medical Costs**: Healthcare in Australia can be expensive. OSHC helps cover the costs of medical treatments, reducing financial stress.
3. **Comprehensive Coverage**: OSHC provides coverage for various healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital treatment, prescription medications, and emergency ambulance services.

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost for International Students in Australia?

The cost of OSHC varies depending on several factors, including the provider, the type of cover, and the duration of your stay. Here are some key considerations:

### Factors Affecting OSHC Costs

1. **Type of Cover**: There are different types of OSHC plans, including singles, couples, and family cover. Singles cover is for individual students, while couples cover includes the student and their partner. Family cover includes the student, their partner, and any dependent children.
2. **Duration of Coverage**: The length of your OSHC policy must match the duration of your student visa. Longer coverage periods will cost more.
3. **Provider Choice**: Various providers offer OSHC, and prices can vary. It’s important to compare different providers to find the best value for money.

Average Cost of OSHC

Here is a general overview of the average costs for OSHC for different coverage types:

– **Singles Cover**: The average cost ranges from AUD 450 to AUD 600 per year.
– **Couples Cover**: The average cost ranges from AUD 2,600 to AUD 3,200 per year.
– **Family Cover**: The average cost ranges from AUD 4,200 to AUD 5,300 per year.

Top OSHC Providers and Their Costs

1. **Medibank**
– Singles Cover: Approximately AUD 480 per year
– Couples Cover: Approximately AUD 2,750 per year
– Family Cover: Approximately AUD 4,500 per year

2. **Bupa**
– Singles Cover: Approximately AUD 500 per year
– Couples Cover: Approximately AUD 2,800 per year
– Family Cover: Approximately AUD 4,600 per year

3. **Allianz Care Australia**
– Singles Cover: Approximately AUD 470 per year
– Couples Cover: Approximately AUD 2,700 per year
– Family Cover: Approximately AUD 4,400 per year

4. **NIB**
– Singles Cover: Approximately AUD 460 per year
– Couples Cover: Approximately AUD 2,650 per year
– Family Cover: Approximately AUD 4,300 per year

5. **AHM (Australian Health Management)**
– Singles Cover: Approximately AUD 450 per year
– Couples Cover: Approximately AUD 2,600 per year
– Family Cover: Approximately AUD 4,200 per year

What Does OSHC Cover?

OSHC provides coverage for various essential healthcare services. While specific coverage details can vary between providers, the following services are typically included:

1. **Doctor Visits**: Coverage for consultations with general practitioners (GPs).
2. **Hospital Treatment**: Coverage for public and private hospital admissions, including accommodation, surgery, and intensive care.
3. **Prescription Medications**: Partial coverage for prescription medications listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
4. **Emergency Ambulance Services**: Coverage for emergency ambulance transportation.
5. **Limited Extras**: Some plans may offer additional benefits such as coverage for optical and dental services.

Exclusions and Limitations

While OSHC provides comprehensive coverage, there are certain exclusions and limitations. Common exclusions may include:

– Elective cosmetic surgery
– Treatment for pre-existing conditions within the first 12 months of the policy
– Services not covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
– Costs above the specified benefit limits

 How to Choose the Best OSHC Plan

Selecting the right OSHC plan requires careful consideration of your specific needs and circumstances. Here are some tips to help you choose the best plan:

Compare Different Providers

Use comparison websites and tools to evaluate different OSHC providers. Consider factors such as cost, coverage, customer service, and additional benefits.

Read the Policy Details

Carefully read the policy documents to understand what is covered, what is excluded, and the benefit limits. Pay attention to the fine print and any waiting periods for specific treatments. 

Consider Your Health Needs

Think about your current health condition and any potential medical needs you may have during your stay in Australia. Choose a plan that offers adequate coverage for these needs.

Check University Requirements

Some universities have specific OSHC requirements or preferred providers. Ensure that your chosen plan meets these requirements.

Seek Recommendations

Ask fellow students or your university’s international office for recommendations on OSHC providers and plans.

How to Purchase OSHC

Purchasing OSHC is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

1. **Choose a Provider**: Research and select an OSHC provider that meets your needs and budget.
2. **Get a Quote**: Visit the provider’s website to get a quote for your desired coverage type and duration.
3. **Apply Online**: Complete the online application form, providing necessary details such as your personal information, student visa details, and enrollment information.
4. **Make Payment**: Pay for your OSHC policy using a credit card or other accepted payment methods.
5. **Receive Your Policy**: Once your application is processed and payment is confirmed, you will receive your OSHC policy documents via email.


Health insurance is a vital aspect of studying in Australia for international students. Understanding the costs and coverage options of OSHC can help you make an informed decision that ensures your health and financial well-being. By comparing different providers, assessing your needs, and choosing the right plan, you can enjoy your time in Australia with peace of mind, knowing that you are protected against potential health-related expenses.

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