Health Insurance

Australia’s Health Insurance: Breaking Down the Options for Students and Visitors

When planning to study or visit Australia, it’s important to have the right health insurance coverage. Australia offers two main types of health insurance for international visitors:

  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
  • Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC)

While both provide essential medical services, they cater to different categories of individuals. In this article, we will explore the key differences between OSHC and OVHC, helping you make an informed decision about the right health insurance option for your specific needs.


OSHC is mandatory for international students studying in Australia on a student visa. Here are the key features and benefits of OSHC:

  • Coverage: OSHC provides medical and hospital insurance, including doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency ambulance services, and limited pharmaceuticals.
  • Duration: OSHC coverage is valid for the duration of your student visa.
  • Cost: The cost of OSHC varies depending on the duration and level of coverage required.
  • Inclusions: OSHC typically covers services related to primary care, specialist consultations, pathology, radiology, and prescription medications.
  • Dependents: OSHC can also cover your spouse and children if they are accompanying you on your student visa.


OVHC is designed for individuals visiting Australia on various visa types, such as work visas, tourist visas, or working holiday visas. Here’s what you need to know about OVHC:

  • Coverage: OVHC provides health insurance for visitors, covering medical treatments, hospitalization, emergency services, and prescription medications to varying extents, depending on the policy.
  • Duration: OVHC coverage can range from a few weeks to several years, depending on the visa type and the duration of your stay in Australia.
  • Cost: The cost of OVHC depends on the policy type, duration of coverage, and level of benefits.
  • Inclusions: OVHC typically covers essential medical services but may have limitations on pre-existing conditions, dental care, and certain elective procedures.
  • Dependents: OVHC policies often allow coverage for accompanying family members, including spouses and dependent children.

Choosing the Right Health Insurance

When deciding between OSHC and OVHC, consider the following factors:

  • Visa Type: Determine the visa category you are applying for and the corresponding health insurance requirement.
  • Coverage Needs: Assess your specific healthcare needs, including pre-existing conditions, and choose a policy that provides adequate coverage.
  • Duration of Stay: Consider the length of your stay in Australia to ensure the health insurance coverage aligns with your visa validity period.
  • Budget: Compare the cost of OSHC and OVHC policies, factoring in the level of coverage and benefits provided.

Understanding the differences between OSHC and OVHC is crucial for international students and visitors to Australia. OSHC is mandatory for students on a student visa, while OVHC caters to visitors on various visa types. Assess your specific needs, visa type, and duration of stay to make an informed decision about the right health insurance option. Remember, having the appropriate health insurance coverage ensures peace of mind and access to necessary healthcare services during your time in Australia.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and should not be considered as professional advice. It is recommended to consult with health insurance providers and immigration authorities for specific and up-to-date information regarding OSHC and OVHC in Australia.

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