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Australia: Essentials - Must read

Essentials: Health and insurance in Australia

Learn about Australia's OSHC and Medicare service, and find out what you're covered by as an international student. Also we suggest a few options for ensuring your possessions are adequately covered...


As well as highly-respected teaching and research, Australia is also the perfect destination for the adventurous and active. With glorious weather all year round and a diverse outdoor environment, there’s a lot to do on weekends if you like to keep moving and stay fit. However, you should always make sure you’re covered when pursuing activities like surfing, paragliding and rock-climbing in case you have an accident – it can happen even when you’re very careful!


This shouldn’t put you off trying these activities and making the most of your Australia experience; so read our guide to health and insurance cover while studying in Australia:



Healthcare in Australia

Australian Residents

Australian residents or those with a permanent visa are covered by Medicare, which is the free national health service in the country. Medicare covers hospital treatment and partially treatment by doctors and specialists, though you can also purchase further private cover from a provider.


International students

If you’re an international student from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia and Italy, you are covered under Medicare due to reciprocal healthcare agreements between Australia and these countries.


If you’re an international student from another country, you must arrange Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which is mandatory for incoming international students to Australia. When applying for your Australian student visa, you’ll have to provide documentation to show that you have purchased this cover, most likely through providing a copy of your receipt. The institution which you’ve been accepted to can arrange this for you or you can arrange this yourself. You must always have this cover throughout your time in Australia i.e. there can never be a time when you aren’t covered by an OSHC policy. OSHC cover lasts 5 years though you can always apply for an extension.


When arriving in Australia

Remember to keep any documentation which shows that you have purchased OSHC on you when travelling to and arriving in Australia in your hand luggage so if you need to, you can show this to border agents if asked.


If you have a pre-existing medical condition, then you should also have a list of your prescriptions from your doctor translated into English; this is not just to make your passage through customs easier if you’re carrying these but also for when registering with a doctor in Australia.


You can also read our guide to health and sickness abroad, including what you need to pack before you leave and more.




Insurance in Australia

As is the case, international students can damage or lose important possessions, some of which will be integral to keeping in touch with friends and family at home or completing your academic work. Furthermore if you plan to explore Australia’s great outdoors or get involved in some fun activities, this will increase the likelihood of damaging a device like a camera or phone.


You may be able to be put on your parents’ insurance or purchase insurance from your current bank, like HSBC. Insurance providers will likely visit campus in your first few weeks to tell students about their services, at which point you can ask questions and sort this out. Some of the most popular providers include Allianz, AAMI and QBE.



Now that you know more about precautions you can take when studying in the country, begin your journey to studying in Australia.



Read more:

'The Australian higher education system....simplified'

'Tuition fees in Australia'

'Applying to study in Australia'

'Applying for a student visa in Australia'

'Student accommodation in Australia'

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About Author

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.


'Study in Australia' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in Australia into one handy digital book.