Health care for students in Australia

When you opt to study abroad it requires student to get acquainted with the new way of life. It could be in terms of accommodation, commuting, financial expenses, health care etc.

Of these, health care needs utmost attention when you are away from home-town, and this happens with students from overseas.

In order to make student education and lifestyle easy it is essential for him/her to get familiar with the available health care system in the country.


Health care in Australia has witnessed steady improvement in the past ten years, and has been one of the nation that has highest life expectancy rates.

The most common health concerns in Australia are skin cancer, heat stroke, obesity, diabetes, dengue fever, and other chronic diseases common to developed countries.

Visitors of Australia can avail the following health programmes, which serve as timely aid to overcome health problems.

Health care for students in Australia

1 Health care for international students in Australia

Visitors in Australia under a student visa health insurance (with the exception of students from Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden) are required to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) during their stay.

The students from United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy, or New Zealand, who are in Australia on a student visa are covered under the Medicare health care programme.

While students visiting Australia from Norway, Finland, Malta, and the Republic of Ireland are not covered by their country's reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

OSHC is available for a period of up to five years. If your course exceeds five years in length, then OSHC providers may issue insurance cover for a longer period. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) provides both medical and hospital insurance.

2 Private Health Insurance enables wider choice of doctors, hospitals

It is estimated that half of Australian citizens receive an additional insurance coverage through private insurance.

The programme covers services such as dental care and private hospitals. Under this insurance patients are allowed to have a wider choice of doctors and hospitals. Private health insurance can be used both in private hospitals and public hospitals. It also covers some medical services not covered by Medicare, such as optical, physiotherapy, podiatry, and dental services.

3 Pharmaceutical benefits scheme

Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a publicly-funded, comprehensive programme that reimburses pharmacists for the costs of dispensing prescribed medicines. The objective of the scheme is to provide timely access to the medicines.

The PBS is available to all Australians, as well as international guests from countries that have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

4 Health care for international visitors in Australia

Medicare benefits are available to visitors from different countries, who have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

The countries included are: the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta, and Italy.

While the residents of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Finland, or Norway are covered for the entire length of their stay. The residents of Belgium, Netherlands or Slovenia are covered until the expiration date on their European Health Insurance card or until the end of their stay in Australia.

Residents of Malta or Italy are covered by Medicare for six months following the date of their arrival in Australia. If you are not from any of these countries you can avail of comprehensive private health insurance to cover you during your stay in Australia.

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