Important Information about COVID-19 Testing


If you are an overseas student coming to study in Australia, you will be eligible for OSHC. An overseas student is:

  1. a person who is the holder of a Student Visa; or
  2. a person who
    1. is an applicant for a Student Visa; and
    2. is the holder of a Bridging Visa; and
    3. was the holder of a Student Visa immediately before being granted the Bridging Visa.

Visa and passports

To make sure you are eligible to claim on your OSHC policy, we may need to verify your visa status. When joining CBHS International Health OSHC, you consent to us verifying your visa with the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA).

Using your OSHC

Your overseas student health cover (OSHC) covers you for a range of medical services (see your policy document for detailed information).

Your Membership card

When you join CBHS International Health OSHC and activate your policy, you will receive a membership card. You'll need your membership card any time that you:

Keep your card safe, it is your responsibility. You must let us know as soon as your card is lost, stolen, or someone who isn’t on your policy is using your card. To make sure someone else can’t use your card, you must present photo identification when you show your card.

If you haven’t received your card, let us know.

Waiting periods

Some of the medical treatments covered under your student health cover will require you to wait for a period of time before you can claim benefits for them, this is called a waiting period. 

Your waiting periods start from the day your health cover starts. If you are transferring from another health fund, we will recognise the waiting periods you have already served with your previous health fund.

Your waiting periods are:

Service Waiting period
Pre-existing condition of a psychiatric nature 2 months
Treatment for other pre-existing conditions 12 months
Pregnancy related service including child birth 12 months
All other services No waiting periods

If you had a medical condition before you joined your CBHS International OSHC, we call it a pre-existing condition and you may not be covered. In other words, 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 you became insured under an OSHC policy. This is determined by a medical advisor appointed by CBHS International Health and takes into consideration any information provided by your Healthcare Provider. Refer to the policy document sent to you when you take out OSHC for more details.

How does OSHC work for out of hospital services?

In Australia, most minor health issues can be treated at a medical centre by the local doctor, also called a General Practitioner or GP. The GP can prescribe medicines if needed. Going straight to hospital in Australia is usually reserved for medical emergencies or major accidents.

CBHS International Health has a network of doctors where you will have a number of free visits, so you will have no out-of-pocket expenses (additional fees) for most services. To find your nearest doctor, call us on 1300 174 538.

If it’s not an emergency

If you’re feeling sick or you’ve been hurt, but it’s not life-threatening it’s not an emergency. For example, you’ve twisted your ankle or have a minor cough or cold. 

  1. Call us on 1300 174 538 to talk to a nurse or to find a doctor near you
  2. Visit a doctor at a medical centre (choose a CBHS International Health Network doctor if you can)
  3. The doctor will decide what treatment you need, prescribe medicine if needed, or refer you to a specialist doctor, for example a gastroenterologist, dermatologist or surgeon (if you need an operation). You can’t visit a specialist doctor in Australia without a referral from your local doctor first.

If it’s an emergency

An emergency is when you’ve been badly hurt, or you have immediate illness that is threatening your life. For example, you’re having an asthma attack, or you (or someone close to you) has been in a major accident.

  1. Dial 000 on your phone
  2. Tell them if you need a translator
  3. They’ll send emergency services, like an ambulance, to help you.

How do I pay for my doctor?

The Australian Government has set a recommended fee for most medical services, such as visiting your doctor (called the Medicare Benefits Schedule, or MBS). If your doctor charges the recommended MBS fee, we’ll pay for the entire fee. But, if the doctor charges more than the recommended MBS fee, you’ll have to pay the difference. We call this an ‘out-of-pocket expense’ or ‘gap’ payment.

Some doctors will ask you to pay on the day of your appointment, while some doctors send us the bill directly. If you pay for the medical service on the day of your appointment, make sure you get a receipt so that you can claim. Simply take a photo of your membership card and the invoice and email to We’ll assess your claim and pay your claim benefit into your Australian bank account.

What if my doctor prescribes medication?

Your doctor may prescribe medicine as part of your treatment. To do this, the doctor will give you a prescription to take to the pharmacy. A prescription is a piece of paper that identifies the medication the doctor would like you to take, as well as the instructions on how and when the medicine should be taken. Take the prescription to the pharmacy or chemist, and they’ll give you the right medicine. Ask the pharmacist to explain how to use the medicine, if you aren’t sure, before you go home. You’ll need to pay for the medicine at the pharmacy, and can claim some of the cost back if:

What if it’s after hours and my medical centre is closed?

Ring us to see if we can find a doctor that can visit you in your home or locate another medical centre that is open for you. You may also be able to call a radio doctor in your area.

You could go to a public hospital as well, but this should be your last option. All public hospitals in Australia have a 24-hour emergency and casualty department where you can get help after hours and on the weekend. People waiting in emergency are assessed and treated based on the seriousness of their medical condition. The patients with the most urgent medical problems are seen and treated first. If you attend the emergency department with a less serious medical problem, you might need to wait a long time to be treated and you could have a very large out of pocket expense.

How does OSHC work for in-hospital services?

When you go to hospital, and are treated in the hospital by a doctor, surgeon or anaesthetist, you will be charged a fee. The Australian Government has set a recommended fee for most medical services, including hospital services (called the Medicare Benefits Schedule, or MBS). If the person who treats you in hospital charges the recommended MBS fee (and the service is included in your health cover) you will be covered for the service. If they choose to charge above the MBS fee (and the service is included in your cover), then you’ll have to pay the difference. If the service is not included in your cover, for example cosmetic surgery, then you will not be covered and you’ll need to pay the full fee.

Remember to contact us before you go to hospital, so we can tell you if there are any exclusions, restrictions or limits on the treatment you're seeking. You should also ask your doctor and the hospital if there are any additional costs that might be higher than those covered by your OSHC.

Have a question? Our team is here to help.

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