Overseas student health cover

The Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs requires all international students applying for a student visa to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of their student visa. OSHC is offered by a number of providers, and you can obtain OSHC from the provider of your choice.

OSHC assists you as a student visa holder to meet the costs of medical and hospital care you may need while in Australia. OSHC may include ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals. When you apply for a student visa, you must show the Department of Home Affairs that you have OSHC for the duration of your visa or that UWA is arranging OSHC on your behalf as indicated on your Confirmation of Enrolment.

It's important to note that waiting periods will differ depending on which OSHC policy you have purchasedA waiting period is the time you need to wait before a benefit is available and you can make a claim. Some costs, such as medical expenses relating to a pre-existing condition, are not covered during your waiting period. Pregnancy cover may require a waiting period. You can claim for benefits available on your policy for expenses incurred after the waiting period has ended.

Helpline for UWA international students

A 24/7 helpline is available for all UWA international students, both onshore and offshore.

Tel: 1800 887 283 (from Australia) OR +61 3 9862 1095 (from outside Australia).

You can get help with:

  • Medical assistance from a registered nurse
  • Counselling services
  • Emergency legal advice
  • Travel document assistance
  • Health system guide
  • Family and friends message service
  • Living in Australia support
  • Interpreter service

Purchasing your OSHC

UWA has a ‘preferred provider’ agreement with Medibank. On acceptance and payment of your first tuition amount and OSHC, UWA will arrange health cover with Medibank for the anticipated length of your student visa. However, OSHC is offered by a number of providers so you also have the option of choosing a different provider.

Purchase through UWA

UWA can arrange your OSHC for you, which gives you extra benefits. If you would like the University to organise your cover for you, it will be purchased through Medibank, our preferred provider, if you are joining for the first time. Medibank exclusively offers Comprehensive OSHC to students at partner education providers. Comprehensive OSHC meets your student visa health insurance requirements (for all course types), helps towards your hospital and medical needs and provides a range of added value services above the government minimum requirements.

The benefits of the Medibank Comprehensive OSHC Policy include:

  • Market leading level of Pharmacy Benefits
  • Best in market Mental Health Coverage
  • 100% of costs for Ambulance Callouts or Emergency Transportation
  • Refer to the full cover summary for further details. 

Purchase through an external provider

You can choose to purchase your OSHC directly through an external private health insurance provider or your agent, but be sure to check the level of coverage you’ll receive under their policies, and understand what is and isn’t covered.

We do recommend that you have your eyes and teeth checked before you arrive in Australia as dental work and glasses are generally not covered under OSHC and are relatively expensive in Australia. You can purchase cover for these extra services at an additional cost.

Your OSHC Membership number and card

Your membership number will be shown on your policy certificate. Your certificate will be sent to you via email at the time when your policy is arranged for you.

When you arrive in Australia you can register and order your physical membership card via the Medibank OSHC App or the Medibank website.

Extending your cover

It’s your responsibility to ensure your health cover is current for the full length of your visa. If you apply for a new student visa and need to extend your OSHC, you can contact your current health insurance provider directly, or contact our preferred provider Medibank to get a quote and easily switch your OSHC.

  • via the Medibank OSHC App; or
  • online via online member services; or
  • by calling Medibank on 134 148.

Medicare and Reciprocal Health Care Arrangements

If you’re in Australia on a student visa from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy or New Zealand, you can also apply for Medicare under your country's Reciprocal Health Care Agreements. Students from Norway, Finland, Malta and the Republic of Ireland are not covered by the agreements with those countries.

Any Medicare coverage you are entitled to under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement will be in addition to OSHC. Having reciprocal access to Medicare does not exempt you from needing to take out OSHC.


If you withdraw or complete your studies early, depart Australia or change visa status, contact your OSHC provider to see if you’re eligible to receive a partial refund of any fees paid in advance. If you’re now a temporary or permanent resident visa holder and therefore no longer require OSHC, you need to provide your visa information to the Fees team via askUWA and to the Medibank team.

Transferring to Medibank

If you choose to transfer your cover to Medibank from any other Australian OSHC insurer, your period of membership will count towards any waiting periods you may need to serve with Medibank OSHC. 
As UWA has a ‘preferred provider’ agreement with Medibank, the waiting periods for Pregnancy and birth and associated services are waived for UWA students.
If you transfer to Medibank OSHC, you will simply need to provide proof of your previous OSHC (transfer certificate). Any waiting periods you have already served with your previous insurer will transfer across to your Medibank OSHC. 
If your cover with your last insurer has lapsed or expired, other conditions apply. For more information, contact Medibank.

Obstetrics cover

As UWA has a ‘preferred provider’ agreement with Medibank, the waiting periods for Pregnancy and birth and associated services are waived for UWA students.

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