Studying in a new country requires you to familiarize yourself with its healthcare system. This guide will give you an overview of the Australian health system, ways to access medical services, health insurance requirements, and crucial emergency contacts.

Disclaimer: Always ensure to seek professional advice for health-related matters. This guide provides general information and may not cover all aspects.

  1. The Australian Health System

Australia’s healthcare system is world-class, consisting of both public and private services. The public system, known as Medicare, provides Australian citizens and some permanent residents with free or low-cost healthcare. As an international student, you’re likely to use a mix of private healthcare services and those covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

  1. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

International students are generally required to have OSHC for the duration of their stay in Australia. OSHC helps to cover the costs of medical and hospital care that you may need while in Australia. It includes some prescription drugs and emergency ambulance services. Be sure to understand what your chosen OSHC policy covers.

  1. Accessing Medical Services

If you’re unwell, the first point of call is typically a General Practitioner (GP). They can manage a wide range of health conditions and can refer you to specialists if needed. For non-emergency situations, you can visit a local medical centre, many of which accept walk-in appointments.

  1. Hospitals and Emergency Services

For emergencies, dial 000 for ambulance, fire, or police. If you’re admitted to a hospital in an emergency, your OSHC will typically cover the costs. However, if you’re admitted to a hospital for elective treatment, ensure you understand the costs beforehand, as not all may be covered by OSHC.

  1. Prescription Medicines

GPs can prescribe medicines, which you can collect from a pharmacy. Some of these costs may be covered by your OSHC.

  1. Dental, Optical, and Physiotherapy Services

These are usually not covered by OSHC or are only partially covered. Some students may choose to take out additional private health insurance to cover these services.

  1. Mental Health Services

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or down, there are many services available. Beyond Blue, Headspace, and Lifeline are some of the organisations offering support. Universities also typically have counselling services for students.

  1. Important Contacts
  • Emergency services (Police, Fire, Ambulance): 000
  • Healthdirect (24/7 health advice): 1800 022 222
  • National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080
  • Lifeline (24/7 crisis support): 13 11 14

Studying abroad can be both exciting and challenging. Taking the time to understand the healthcare services available in Australia will help you take care of your health and wellbeing throughout your student journey.