Attention to detail is essential when choosing the right OSHC policy for your students. With six different private health insurance companies offering different levels of coverage and varying exclusions, it's important to compare the plans to find the one that best meets your student's needs. This guide will walk you through the key elements to look out for when choosing an OSHC policy for your students.
📋 Table of contents
Let's start by recalling some basic knowledge
OSHC stands for Overseas Student Health Cover and is health insurance designed to cover overseas students studying in Australia. All international students must have OSHC, regardless of their country of origin, if they are studying in Australia for more than three months.
It is advisable to contact the OSHC from the moment of arrival in Australia until up to one month after the course's end date. If the students' course lasts up to 10 months two more months would be added to the end of the course and if the course is more than 10 months and ends in December, then 3 months would be added to the OSHC.
OSHC covers medical and hospital expenses, prescription medicines, ambulance services, and limited mental health services for students, similar to what Australians receive through Medicare (their public health system). It ensures students can access medical help without financial stress.
OSHC is provided by 6 private health insurance companies: Allianz, BUPA, Medibank, NIB, AHM and CBHS international health. Except for the last small one, Edvisor offers the 5 main insurance companies that exist in the market to its agents through the Marketplace, being able to obtain policies with the best agreements through the platform quickly.
Each of these companies offers different levels of coverage, so it’s important to compare the different plans to find the one that is right for your students. Some of the differences between the plans include the level of cover offered, the exclusions and the cost.
Furthermore, it is good to have this website of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care and Aged Care at hand to be up to date on changes or simply to learn more about everything related to OSHC.
We suggest you take a look at the article "How to Get Ready to Double Onshore Renewals". You will find a useful guide that will help you get your students to renew their visas onshore with your agency, and maybe even generate business growth as students' friends become customers.
But, what is the important thing to pay attention to in order to offer the best advice when it comes to informing and offering the most appropriate insurance for your students?
Price is not the most important factor
When it comes to selecting insurance, price should not be the primary consideration. It is essential to evaluate other aspects such as the coverage network, specialists or what medical tests are included in the policy. Many students opt for the cheapest option without considering these elements, which could result in inadequate coverage or dissatisfaction with their plan. Making the effort to consider factors beyond cost could save students time and money in the long run.
An important factor to consider is the range of coverage networks available by health insurance companies in different regions as location can significantly impact an individual's insurance choices.
For example, students studying or working in remote areas may not have access to the same coverage network as those in larger cities like Brisbane, Newcastle, or Sydney. Additionally, larger insurance companies tend to offer more comprehensive coverage than smaller ones. As such, it is important to ensure that students are informed about the coverage networks and their options so they can make an informed decision about the best health insurance for their needs.
Students may need medication on a regular basis or contraceptives. These students must first go to the General Practitioner to be referred to the specialist to get these medications. The GP expenses are included in the policy, but specialists, unless it is an emergency, may not be included; therefore, this expense may not be reimbursed to students.
It is important for students to weigh the cost of medical tests like X-rays or blood tests when choosing an insurance policy. The least expensive policies usually don't cover these tests, while large companies such as Allianz and BUPA may have coverage for these tests. Therefore, this may be a factor that must be taken into account in the student's decision.
Therefore, it is essential for agents to read over the policy carefully and check for any exclusions when giving advice to students. This helps ensure that they are aware not only of their medical assistance coverage but also of their coverage network depending on the region in which they will be studying or working.
For the students, it is vital to know the technology that is going to have. How will you receive reimbursement for the GP consultation or medical test? Will it be through transference, or does it arrive through a check to the student's home or to the student's account through a mobile application? The agent must understand what the insurance health offers on the digital side to provide a better service to the student.
If students have the option to log into the insurance company's app on their mobile phones, enter relevant data such as the doctor's name or identification number, the student's ABN, the code for the type of medical consultation, and the cost and they can receive a refund directly into their account the next day, that could be an invaluable convenience.
An app can be really helpful for students by providing fast and easy processing of paperwork as well as immediate access to their money. So the agent should know what type of technology students can expect depending on their health insurance.
Insurance exclusions to keep in mind
OSHC health insurance does not offer repatriation or has a fine print to understand in what circumstances the student could be repatriated. Therefore, these particularities of the OSHC must be taken into account and know that only travel insurance could fully cover repatriation.
It also does not cover the trips the student can make outside Australia. If, for example, the student had an accident in Thailand or Indonesia, he would not be covered by the OSHC. The most recommended thing would be to get travel insurance for this situation.
OSHCs do not cover sports practices, so depending on the reason that the student gives to the GP, the GP will assess the student's situation to determine if a refund is applicable.
When it comes to Insurance, you can rely on us.
We know the insurance world is complex, so we provide solutions that make this transaction easier for you. Either through the Edvisor platform or through our insurance landing page, Student Insurance Finder, you or your student can select multiple policies to compare them side-by-side. This makes it easy to find the coverage that is right for your student. You can then proceed to purchase your policy in just a few clicks getting on top of that, extra remuneration.
Moreover, whether your student needs another insurance on top of OSHC, such as Medical + Travel Cover, you could check a guide to our ever-growing portfolio to suit all budgets and students' needs.
OSHC is an essential part of international student life in Australia, so it is very important that agents understand all the aspects of insurance in order to provide the best service to students. After all, your service is what sets you apart from your competitors.