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The Education Destination : The Education Destination
OSHC: A healthy system When you come to Australia, you must have health insurance as part of your visa requirements. As an international student, you need Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before you apply for your visa. You must have OSHC for the whole time you are in Australia. OSHC helps cover medical and hospital treatment that you may need while studying in Australia, from a minor illness such as a cough to an overnight stay in hospital. Four organisations offer OSHC to students. On their websites, they explain the medical and hospital services for which they provide full or part payment. The cost of OSHC ranges from around $90 for three months to $400 for a year. The minimum period for OSHC is 12 months or the length of your visa, if this is shorter than a year. Students often take out health insurance for the full duration of their visa (eg three years) and they may receive a discount for this. Helpful assistance The health insurance organisations have helpful, friendly staff who can assist you in Australia. They often have information on their websites in other languages and staff or interpreters who speak a number of languages. Most of the organisations have a 24-hour helpline you can contact in case of a medical emergency. Medibank Private, for example, has a 24-hour emergency telephone service that provides medical, legal and other assistance over the phone, with the aid of an interpreter if necessary. You can also call for help with making an appointment and a referral to a doctor. Australia’s health system Australia has an excellent health system of medical surgeries, specialist clinics, ambulance services, local hospitals and large teaching and specialist hospitals. There are also thousands of dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists and other health- related practitioners. If you need to see a doctor (general practitioner), you will usually make an appointment at your local clinic. Some large universities have medical clinics on their campuses. When you need urgent treatment out of hours, you can go to a 24-hour clinic or an emergency department in a hospital. You normally pay for the medical service and are then reimbursed by your OSHC provider. Alternatively you may be able to give your bill straight to your provider. With Medibank Private, you have an additional option. The organisation has special billing arrangements with some doctors where the account can be sent directly to Medibank Private. Some providers have representatives on university campuses. Australia has an excellent health system of medical surgeries, specialist clinics, ambulance services, local hospitals and large teaching and specialist hospitals. Staying healthy Coming to a different climate and living away from home can make it harder to stay healthy. Keep the following tips in mind. 1. Stay sun-safe – use sunscreen lotion, wear a hat and keep out of the sun in the hottest times of the day. Drink lots of water. 2. Sensible swimming – at the beach, only swim between the fl ags which is the area patrolled by lifesavers. 3. Eat well – make an effort to cook or buy healthy foods and fresh fruit. 4. Exercise – join a campus sports club, go for a walk, a swim or to the gym. A healthy body helps you concentrate better when studying. Australia: The Education Destination 91 HEALTH INSURANCE
Australia The Education Destination 2010