Helping you understand your health cover
If you still have questions regarding your overseas visitor health cover after reviewing these commonly asked questions, please call us on 1300 174 537. We're available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How does the overseas visitor’s health cover work for out-of-hospital services?
In Australia, most minor health issues can be treated by a local doctor, also called a general practitioner or GP. You should only go to the hospital if you have a medical emergency or are in a major accident.
An emergency is any medical problem that causes extreme pain, severe blood loss, or could cause death or permanent injury if not treated quickly. An example of an emergency is struggling to breathe, severe chest pains or being hit by a car.
In an emergency, call 000.
If you’ve been hurt or are feeling sick but it’s not life-threatening, then it is not an emergency. For example, if you’ve twisted your ankle, or have a minor cough or cold, then it’s not an emergency.
If you hold an Overseas Worker Base Hospital health cover, you are not covered when you seek medical services from a doctor as an outpatient. You are only covered when you are admitted into the hospital as inpatient. If you seek services from the emergency department of a public hospital, this is classified as ‘outpatient’ services and you are not covered to receive a benefit.
Visit your local doctor to seek treatment.
Local doctors can be found in medical centres within a shopping centre or private practice within your community. When you make an appointment, ask how much the consultation will cost so you are aware of the charges before you see the doctor. Visiting your local doctor will save you from paying high and unnecessary costs, compared to seeing a doctor at the local hospital.
Online doctor services
You can speak to a fully qualified doctor based in Australia from the comfort of your own home or office via your smartphone or desktop. Whether you need a health consultation, medical certificate, referral letter or prescription, these services are available on demand (during extended hours) or by appointment. If you need a prescription your doctor will send it to a pharmacy of your choice.
For more information regarding our online health providers, click here.
Face-to-face doctor services (Choice Network)
- If you prefer to see a doctor face-to-face, click here or call 1300 174 537 to locate the closest doctor within the CBHS International Health network.
- Call and book an appointment with a clinic. Let them know you're a CBHS International Health member.
- If you're seeing this doctor for the first time, arrive a few minutes early to fill in some forms.
- Remember to take your CBHS International Health membership card and photo ID with you and the medical centre may bill us directly.
Outside of the Choice NetworkYou can visit a medical centre or other medical service provider that is not part of the CBHS International Health network. This will attract out-of-pocket expenses. When you call to book an appointment, ask how much it will cost. After paying for the consultation, ask for a receipt and submit a claim through the CBHS International mobile app. Simply search “CBHS International” in the app store. Once you submit a claim you should typically expect to receive the benefit within 3 to 5 business days if it's a Medical claim. For Hospital claims, the hospital can expect to receive payment within and up to 28 calendar days after submitting their bill.
What if the medical centre is closed or it's after-hours?
If it’s not an emergency, you should first seek a consult with a qualified doctor from our after-hours service providers.
All public hospitals in Australia have a 24-hour emergency department where you can get help after-hours and on the weekend.
If you go to a public hospital for non-emergency treatment, you could be charged over $1,000 because services provided in a public hospital's emergency department are considered ‘outpatient’ and not ‘inpatient’ hospital services. Also, we do not pay benefits for facility fees.
If you hold an Overseas Worker Base Hospital health cover, you're not covered when you seek services from the emergency department of a public hospital as this is classified as ‘outpatient’.
If you hold an Overseas Worker Mid Hospital & Medical or Overseas Worker Top Hospital & Medical, you can only claim on services* provided if there is a MBS number or a description of the services on the receipt. If the receipt states your treatment as ‘Medicare ineligible’ and no other details, the maximum benefit will be $160.
How do medical payments work?
The Australian Government has set a recommended fee for most medical services, such as visiting your doctor. This is called the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). If your doctor charges the recommended MBS fee, we will provide you with a benefit* of the full amount. However, if the doctor charges more than the recommended fee, you will have to pay the difference. We call this an ‘out-of-pocket expense’ or ‘gap’ payment.
If you visit a doctor in a medical centre or other medical service provider that is not part of the CBHS International Health network, you will have to pay out-of-pocket expenses. When you call to book an appointment, ask how much it will cost. After paying for the consultation, ask for a receipt (ensure your name is on it!) and submit a claim through the CBHS International mobile app.
Simply search “CBHS International” in the app store. Once you submit a claim you should typically expect to receive the benefit within 3 to 5 business days if it's a Medical claim. For Hospital claims, the hospital can expect to receive payment within and up to 28 calendar days after submitting their bill.
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.
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:
- The medicine is listed on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS); and
- You haven’t used all your pharmaceutical benefits on your policy.
*Refer to your level of health cover for eligibility, service limits, benefits, and any applicable waiting periods.
^FREE means $0 out-of-pocket costs for eligible members. OVHC Base Hospital members are not eligible. Non-eligible members can access these services but will have to pay the fee and can’t make a claim.