International Students: Understanding Overseas Health Insurance, Private Insurance and Rebate

Let us start with the understanding of an Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC) and its need. The reasons for its compulsion. Medicare. And lastly, rebate.  Foreign education is developed countries, like Australia is an idea many students want to tick off in their bucket list. But along with several terms and conditions, enter health insurance in Australia.

Before I begin to tell you about the overseas student health plan or get into details, I would like to let you know that one of the USPs of Australia as a nation is the provision of quality healthcare it provides to its citizens.

To maintain health standards, the Australian government asks visitors and overseas students alike, in addition in maintaining health standards, have a health insurance policy for themselves and their families for the duration of their entire stay in Australia. A private bed and basic medical facilities in an Australian hospital could cost a person up to $1000 a day. The bills could burn a massive hole in the pockets of an overseas student who has gone for a study.

Overseas students are generally, not eligible for Medicare, the public healthcare system of Australia and so the 500 visa (student visa, 8501 mandate) – clearly asks the applicant and his to have adequate health insurance for their period of stay in Australia. All the students except Norway, Sweden and Belgium, have to have health insurance mandatorily.

Sounds good! So, who can take out an OSHC?

An overseas student on a 500 visa has to take out an OSHC, for the entire duration of his visa validity. The visa may also include his spouse or child, under 18 years of age. In here, an ‘overseas student’ means

  • A holder of a student visa
  • An applicant of a student visa
  • A Holder of a bridging visa
  • A person who was immediately before the granting of the bridging visa, the holder of a student visa

As rigid as it may sound – the applicant can’t even enter Australia before the starting date of their OSHC policy and may face issues with their visa if the health insurance expires before the visa! Active measures, isn’t it?

Now, let’s move on to Private Health Insurance Rebate

Let us begin with the meaning of the word ‘rebate’. If you look upon the term at a search engine for its definition, you would know that a rebate is an amount paid by way of reduction, return or refund on what has already been paid or contributed.

In Australia, most of the citizens with a private health cover receive a rebate from the government. It is done so as an incentive to encourage them to take out insurances. The private insurance rebate is, however, income-tested – the income defines the rebate. The fundamentals are simple – The more you earn, the lower the debate. In case of a person receiving a higher salary, the deduction may be considerably reduced and vice versa.

But, who is eligible for a private health insurance rebate?

According to home affairs Australia, a person can claim the rebate if

  • The concerned person is eligible for Medicare.
  • The person has a complying health insurance product (CHIP) which provides hospital and general treatment cover or both.
  • Have an income for surcharge purposes of less than $1,40,000 as single, or $2,80,000 as a family.
  • Be a beneficiary of a private health insurance incentive.

To claim the rebate, if one is eligible for the same, it can be requested in two ways:

  • The rebate can be claimed as a reduction in the premium through the private health insurer. One can contact their insurer if they want to claim their refund as a reduced premium. The tier the insured person falls into has to be nominated by them to avoid tax liability.
  • The rebate can also be claimed by way of a tax offset when one lodges their annual tax returns.

So, are overseas students eligible for the rebate?

As the overseas students are ineligible for the public healthcare system, Medicare – the international insurance doesn’t comply with the health insurance policies as stated by the Australian government, and therefore, the holders of overseas health covers become ineligible for a private health insurance rebate.

If you wish to learn savvy ways to compare and buy the best insurance plan for you, click here.

Author Bio:

I am Krina Patel, first, a proud mother of two and then, a project manager. I’m passionate in the heart about project management and learning; and use my experience and skills in helping others. My belief is simple. Just like a mother assures her child, I love assuring people in form of insurances for their pleasant stay in Australia.

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