Tax time

Will you send me a tax statement at the end of the Australian financial year?
No. Overseas Student Health Cover is not a Complying Health Insurance Product (CHIP) for tax purposes. That’s why we don’t need to issue you with a tax statement. Your Overseas Student Health Cover is a product that ensures you meet condition 8501 which is: ‘Maintain Health Insurance' – for the duration of your Student Visa.
Can I call CBHS International for more information and details on taxation?
Unfortunately, no. We are not qualified to provide any further assistance with your tax enquiries. For more details on taxation, please contact The Australian Taxation Office for help.

The 'Who'

Who is covered by my OSHC?

OSHC policies will cover three scenarios:

  • Singles cover: cover for just you
  • Couples cover: cover for you and your spouse or de facto partner
  • Family cover: cover for you, your spouse or de facto partner, and your children under the age of 18 who are living with you in Australia, and are listed on your student visa
  • Sole parent cover: cover for you, and your dependant children who are under 18, living with you in Australia and listed on your student visa.

We don’t cover your extended family members such as your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters.

The 'What'

What is student cover?
Overseas Student Health Cover is health cover for overseas/international students. It’s part of Visa requirement 500 allowing you to study in Australia.
What isn't covered by my Overseas Student Health Cover policy?

Here are some of the services your CBHS International Health OSHC will not cover you for:

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Fees charged by a doctor above the amount we pay benefits for
  • Non-Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), high cost drugs
  • Treatment for services within the waiting periods.
For a full list of what is and what isn’t covered, please refer to your Policy Member Guide.
What happens if I cancel my Overseas Student Health Cover or my cover lapses?

If your OSHC cover lapses or is cancelled, you will no longer be complying with your visa conditions and your visa can be cancelled. If you have an accident or need any medical treatment while you don’t have health cover, you will have to pay the full cost of that treatment yourself.

To ensure you're covered if your policy has lapsed, you’ll need to back-pay the premium for the time that you weren’t covered, as well as for the duration of your policy until your visa expires or you leave Australia.

What medical services does student cover take care of?

Our student cover (OSHC) helps members meet the costs of:

  • Visits to the doctor
  • Out of hospital medical treatment
  • In-hospital medical treatment
  • Emergency ambulance
  • Some prescription medications (medicines prescribed by your doctor in or out of hospital).

See the OSHC policy page for more information.

What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is an illness or medical condition, the signs or symptoms of which existed at any time in the period of six months before the person became insured under an OSHC or OVHC policy. This is determined by a medical advisor appointed by CBHS International Health and takes into consideration any information provided by the member’s Health Care Provider.
What is a General Practitioner or GP?
In Australia, we call our local doctors General Practitioners or GPs.
What is a specialist?
A specialist is a medical practitioner who has extra training in a particular aspect of healthcare, such as a dermatologist or cardiac surgeon. In Australia, you need a referral from your doctor to see a specialist.
What happens after I join?
It’s important that you contact us when you arrive in Australia so we can activate your cover, update your local contact details and send your membership card/s.
What do I do if the doctor gives me a prescription?
Sometimes your doctor will prescribe medicine as part of your treatment. A prescription, which can be digital or paper, outlines which medication/s your doctor would like you to take. Show your prescription at a pharmacy or chemist, and they will supply you with the right medicine. If you're not sure how to use the medicine, ask the pharmacist before you go home.
What are waiting periods?

Sometimes you must wait for a period of time before you’re able to claim benefits for services under your CBHS International Health cover – this is called a waiting period. The following waiting periods apply to our policies:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: 12 months
  • Pregnancy-related services, including miscarriage and termination: 12 months
  • Treatment for pre-existing conditions relating to hospital psychiatric services: 2 months
  • All other services including GP services, accidents, emergency ambulance transport: no waiting period
What are exclusions?

Exclusions are services that are not covered under your policy. You can seek services for the exclusions but CBHS International Health will not pay any benefits. Examples of exclusions under our health cover are:

  • Non-admitted hospital psychiatric services
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Stem cell, bone marrow and organ transplant
  • Other services for which a Medicare benefit is not payable.
What to do when I am sick?

If you need medical attention in a non-emergency situation, we have a network of doctors you can visit online or face-to-face, where you can access treatment with little or no out-of-pocket costs.

If you need to see a specialist or go to hospital, we also have a network of agreement hospitals where your treatment can be covered at little or no out-of-pocket costs.  You can conduct a hospital search on our sister brand website using the link above.

You can also call our 24/7 medical and personal assistance helpline^ if you need help to work out what you need to do or who you need to see.

^CBHS International Health may refer you to third party providers when you use the medical, interpreter and personal assistance helpline. If you decide to engage a provider, it will be on the basis that CBHS International Health will not be responsible, and you will not hold CBHS International Health responsible, for any liability that may arise from that engagement.

What is hospital outpatient medical treatment?

These are medical services you receive in the emergency department of a hospital, but you have not been formally admitted to hospital.

For example, if you consulted with a hospital doctor, had a blood test or x-ray while you were in the emergency department of a hospital, but had not been formally admitted into hospital, this is known as outpatient services.

The formal hospital admission process usually includes you being given a hospital wristband and allocated a hospital bed in a hospital ward (rather than the emergency department). This only happens when you’ve been assessed and meet certain criteria. If you meet the hospital criteria for admission, it is because your doctor has decided you need to stay in hospital (at least overnight) - or you've had pre-planned day surgery/procedure (such as a colonoscopy) and need to be admitted for inpatient care.

If you have not been formally admitted to hospital for an overnight stay when you went to the Hospital emergency department or attended day surgery, your medical treatment you received is outpatient services.

What is in-hospital medical treatment?

This is medical treatment you receive once you have been formally admitted to hospital.

The formal hospital admission process usually includes you being given a hospital wristband and allocated a hospital bed in a hospital ward (rather than the emergency department). This only happens when you’ve been assessed and meet certain criteria. If you meet the hospital criteria for admission, it is because your doctor has decided you need to stay in hospital (at least overnight) - or you've had pre-planned day surgery/procedure (such as a colonoscopy) and need to be admitted for inpatient care.

Inpatient services include pre-planned hospital admissions for day surgery or a medical procedure (for example colonoscopy). This is where you have day surgery or a medical procedure done, then later the same day you go home. Day surgery or medical procedures can be considered inpatient medical treatment if you need inpatient care, even if you don't need to stay overnight at the hospital.

What are eligible student visa subclasses?

Subclass 500 is the only eligible student visa subclass.

What you need to know before applying for single cover

Who is the primary visa holder?

The primary visa holder is the person who applied for and has been granted an eligible student visa. The primary visa holder will be the member insured and the Policy Holder.

Who is the secondary visa holder?

A secondary visa holder is the spouse, de facto partner, or dependent child of the primary visa holder. A secondary visa holder is not eligible for single cover.

Who is eligible for single cover?

Only primary visa holders without a spouse, de facto or dependent child are eligible for single cover.

When do I need couple, family, or sole parent cover?

If you are the primary visa holder and you have secondary visa holders coming to Australia with you, then you will need a couple, family, or sole parent cover. Read the OSHC policy guide to find out more.

If you're not eligible to hold single cover or have an ineligible visa subclass for the product you’ve chosen, no benefits or claims will be paid. If you need more information, please contact us 1300 174 538 or email us at We’ll be happy to help.

The 'When'

When will I get my membership card?
Once you have arrived in Australia and activated your cover, we’ll send you your membership card.
When will my Overseas Health Cover commence?

If you pay your OSHC premium (fee) before you arrive in Australia, your cover will start on the day you arrive. If your arrival date changes, let us know immediately so we can update your information.  If you don’t pay the premium before you arrive but pay it after your arrival, your cover will start from the day you pay your premium, or a later date if you nominate one. If you are transferring from another health fund, your cover will start from date you transfer your health cover to us.

We will not be able to pay any benefits until your premium (fee) is paid.

When will my cover start?
If you have paid your premium (the fee for your health cover) before you arrive, your cover will start on the day you arrive in Australia. If you are already in Australia then your cover will start from your visa start date.
When should I go to the emergency department of a hospital?
Hospital emergency departments are there to help people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. If your situation is not life-threatening, then you should go to your nearest CBHS International Health network medical centre or other medical centre for treatment. Call us to find out where to go.
When will I receive my visa compliance letter?
Once you’ve bought your cover, an email with your compliance letter will be immediately sent to you. Please make sure you provide a valid email address to avoid delays. If you have not received your letter, contact CBHS International Health at

The 'Where'

Where can I find my policy information?
Your policy information is available in your policy document which we send to you when you join. If you have questions about your policy, call us on 1300 174 538 from in Australia, or on (+61) 2 8604 3537 from overseas.

The 'Why'?

Why do I need Overseas Student Health Cover?

The Australian Healthcare System can be broken up into two parts: 

  1. The public healthcare system known as Medicare is only available to Australian permanent residents and reciprocal card holders. 
  2. The private health system which is supported by Private Health Insurers (including CBHS International and Overseas cover) will cover you for both emergency and non-emergency health issues, including things like treatment in a private hospital, the cost of an ambulance and other medical or ancillary services. 

There are three reasons why you should take out student cover (OSHC):

  1. It is a requirement for Overseas students while they study in Australia.
  2. OSHC keeps you protected against the costs of medical treatment if you get sick or have an accident. Some treatments can cost thousands of dollars!
  3. Your cover will help lessen the impact of costs on the Australian health system. This helps our country continue to sustainably welcome international students.
Why do I need to have an eligible visa subclass for my chosen product?

Our OSHC product is specifically designed to provide adequate health insurance for international students studying in Australia. This is known as visa subject condition 8501.

Our OSHC product is not designed for other types of visa subclasses and therefore may not suit your health cover needs.

Only certain visa subclasses are required to hold adequate health insurance. To confirm which visas these are, go to:

The 'How'?

How can I contact CBHS International Health from outside Australia?

You can contact us:

Overseas student:

Overseas worker or visitor:

Or you can call us from overseas on (+61) 2 8604 3537.

How do I pay for medical treatment?

In most cases, your student cover will pay for a portion of your medical costs. In some cases, you may need to pay for the bill first and then claim a refund from us. In other situations, the medical provider will bill us directly for your treatment. Let them know you have cover with us and they’ll tell you what the process is.

Whenever you are seeking treatment, you should always receive informed financial consent from your treating provider. This will provide you with information on any out-of-pocket expenses in relation to your treatment. 

For medication from the pharmacy, you will need to pay for the medicine and then we’ll refund you for some or all of the costs. Make sure you understand what medication you're covered for as there are limitations to what we can pay. If you aren't sure, call us, and we can tell you.

How long do I need to be covered for?
You must be covered for the full length of your stay in Australia under your student visa.

Additional FAQs

Can I transfer from another student health cover provider?
Yes, you can transfer to another policy. Be aware that some of the policy conditions may be different. Your previous policy duration will count towards any relevant waiting periods on your new cover.
Am I covered outside Australia?
No. Your overseas student or visitors health cover can only commence once you have arrived in Australia.
Can I buy my cover before I arrive in Australia?
Yes. You can buy overseas health cover directly from us online, or you can call us to discuss your options.
Do I still need health insurance if I have access to reciprocal Medicare benefits?

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) vary from country to country, so it’s important to understand what you are and aren’t covered for before deciding on health insurance. Even if you’re entitled to reciprocal benefits, Medicare does not cover you for everything and without health insurance you will need to pay for these services. The list below gives examples of services that are NOT covered under RHCA.

  • Ambulance
  • Dental care
  • Elective treatment
  • Funerals
  • Medical evacuation to your home country
  • Paramedical services, for example blood tests
  • Treatment and accommodation in private hospitals, or as a private patient in a public hospital
  • Treatment that is not immediately necessary.
Can I change my OSHC product?

If you are an existing OSHC Standard policy holder, you may change or extend your cover dates, and upgrade your product to an OSHC Essentials policy if you like. There is no requirement to upgrade.

If you’re an existing OSHC Essentials policy holder you are not able to downgrade your product to OSHC Standard, however you can change or extend your cover dates.

Issuing Refunds

If we do not have your bank account details on file, we will attempt to contact you by email twice over a period of 60 days to request your bank account details. If we do not receive a response from you within 60 days, we will hold the amount of the refund (less an administration fee), pending contact from you. We'll keep your details on file for seven years after cancelling your membership, and you may contact us to claim your refund at any point during this time.

Can I receive a refund by foreign transfer?

If you don’t have an Australian bank account, we can process the refund via foreign transfer less the bank’s foreign transaction fee of $37.00 (AUD). If the refund amount due is less than $50 (AUD), foreign transfer is not an option. In this case, CBHS International will apply the refund as an administration fee.