Victoria has a quality public health system, if you need emergency treatment you need to show your Overseas Student Health Cover insurance card at time of admission. Youï¿½ll always be able to receive treatment in Victoria. Most universities offer health services, including dentists, doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Australia has a system of health cover for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Students are required to have this cover while they are in Australia. It provides a safety net for international students similar to that provided to Australian citizens through Medicare, Australiaï¿½s national health insurance system.
When visiting a doctor in Victoria, you will need to check if the medical clinic has an agreement with your Overseas Student Health Care Cover. If they do have a agreement, your payment will be considerably less.
The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care have advised that students from Sweden and Norway do not require OSHC as these countries have national health schemes which provide adequate health cover.
What it Covers
OSHC covers most medical expenses and the cost of hospital care in Victoria, as well as most prescription drugs and emergency ambulance transport, although it doesnï¿½t cover pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy. Dental, optical and physiotherapy are not covered.
Arranging OSHC Cover
Your institution will arrange OSHC cover for you. Please note that if you fail some units and therefore require an extension of your OSHC, it will be your responsibility to organise this directly with your OSHC provider. Again, it is recommended that you contact your institution to confirm arrangements.
Premiums generally start from around A$75 for three months (A$312 for a year), however rates will vary according to the length of stay in Australia and your OSHC provider. Youï¿½ll need a family premium if your spouse and/or dependent children are accompanying you. If your course of study is for less than three months or you are travelling to Australia under a visa other than a student visa, you will not be eligible for OSHC. Travel insurance is recommended in this case.
You may be able to claim for holiday credit when you return to your home country for the semester break. Your institution will be able to advise you further.
Students are responsible for their own accident and property insurance while living in Victoria. Itï¿½s also wise to arrange travel insurance before leaving your country.
There are many general medical practitioners and psychologists that are able to assist you if you are feeling depressed or are suffering from anxiety.
beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders in Australia. They have five priorities:
- Increasing community awareness of depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders and addressing associated stigma.
- Providing people living with depression and their carers with information on the illness and effective treatment options and promoting their needs and experiences with policy makers and healthcare service providers.
- Developing depression prevention and early intervention programs.
- Improving training and support for General Practitioners and other healthcare professionals on depression.
- Initiating and supporting depression-related research.
If you need to talk to someone straight away, make an emergency appointment with your local doctor (General Practitioner) – check the White Pages for the phone number. You can find a General Practitioner in your area who has had extra training in mental health by looking at the beyondblue Find a Doctor List.
- Contact your local public hospital
- beyondblue info line 1300 224 636
- Lifeline – 131 114
- Suicide Helpline Victoria – 1300 651 251
- Kids Help Line (free call) – 1800 551 800
- Mensline – 1300 789 978
To find out what mental health services are available in your area call Lifeline’s Just Askinformation line on 1300 131 114 (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm EST). Just Ask can also post you copies of any of beyondblue’s fact sheets on depression.
Concerns and complaints regarding your private health insurance provider can be lodged with the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (www.phio.org.au).
This is an independent and confidential national service.
Complaints Hotline: 1800 640 695 (free call anywhere in Australia)