Study Abroad in Australia Subclass 573 Visa
Health Insurance Solutions for a U.S. Student Studying Abroad
Warning this is a long post – this post focuses on mainly the outbound U.S. Student planning to study in the Country of Australia.
You have graduated from high school and now your are off to college. A really exciting time for just about any student. Some of you will decide to study abroad at some point in your quest for further education and a scholarship. The prospects for many who decide to move away to further their studies outside their home country is even more exciting.
So many places to consider but for many Australia will be one of the countries on their short list. To study in Australia, like most countries there are certain things that you must do in order to get your Student Visa issued. I think it goes without saying that to study in Australia you will need to have a valid Australian visa. In Australia student visas are considered temporary visas that allow people to come to Australia for a specified period to study at an Australian educational institution.
The government of Australia issues student visas to students from over 190 countries around the globe. Each student visa is considered based on its own individual merits. There are a number of steps one must take even before you get to the visa process. The visa process is just about the last thing you will complete before your arrival in country.
There are a range of entry requirements that you will need to meet both for your institution application and your visa application. These can include:
- Academic requirements
- English language requirements
- Evidence of funds to support your study
- Overseas student health cover
Overseas Student Health Cover
It is important to point out that if you plan to further your education in Australia – along with all the other requirements needed to obtain your visa – health insurance is one of the more confusing requirements. In short the Australian government requires ALL students undertaking formal studies in Australia must obtain minimal coverage from what they call the OSHC – Overseas Student Health Cover. OSHC Cover must be obtained from one of the approved OSHC providers, no exceptions. OSHC cover is typically available for a period of up to five years.
Proof of Insurance
When you lodge your application, you must provide a receipt or other proof of your OSHC payment. The OSHC should commence when you arrive in Australia.
Purpose of OSHC Insurance
OSHC is insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. OSHC will also pay limited benefits for pharmaceuticals and ambulance services. Currently there are five major insurers that are approved by the Australian Government to sell OSHC compliant plans. They are…
- Australian Health Management
- BUPA Australia
- Medibank Private
- Allianz Global Assistance (subcontracted by Lysaght Peoplecare)
- nib OSHC
Australia does not allow students to purchase private International cover as a replacement for OSHC Cover. Only registered private health insurers can offer OSHC. This is because the Australian Government wants to be able to monitor and regulate insurers covering people living temporarily in Australia. The Government is not able to protect the interests of people insured by overseas insurance companies in the same way. But you can purchase comprehensive International cover in addition to OSHC cover that will provide you with full global coverage including comprehensive medical services in Australia.
Other Comprehensive Options to Consider
This whole subject is a bit complicated. Every country has their own special requirements that must be met before they issue certain type of visas. In most cases health cover that you are compelled to purchase are based on absolute minimums. Some companies offer increased limits but as far as the OSHC Cover is concerned it is really tailored to the foreign student who will study in Australia.
For those U.S. Citizens that are planning to study in Australia we are blessed to have other options that we can pair with the Australian OSHC cover requirements. Traveling abroad is more than just attending a foreign college or university. Most students that study abroad will be gone for multiple years and at some point they will be out of the country of Australia and may even take time to travel to other places.
In addition, the Australian system of healthcare is really more of a partnership between state-run healthcare (Medicare in Australia) and the private sector. In fact as much as 53% of the Australian people have selected Private Cover in place of state-run Medicare. Why would this be? Primarily it is an Access to Care issue. Inside the state-run healthcare systems people are subject to limitations of provider choice and available services. Private healthcare allows one to seek care anywhere in the world accessing the best care available.
When a student leaves the borders of the United States the first thing they leave behind is our wonderful private healthcare system. Although expensive it is considered by most people globally to be one of the premier healthcare systems in the world. Traveling to a foreign country exposes all Americans to unknown risks, especially when your travels may include other countries and continents.
Our Suggested Solution
Most of the parents our office works with have the primary concern that in the event of an illness or injury their child has access to the BEST possible care available. This may not include one of the network facilities in Australia and certainly not in other countries. Having a total global strategy in many cases involves more than one insurance product.
In the case of the U.S. student traveling to Australia for further study we offer a full global health insurance cover option that can be used along with and in addition to the OSHC plans required by the Australian Government. Typically the average cost for one of the plans in the $400 – $600 range per year. About $50 per month. We can then add to this monthly cost a full global health insurance plan for less than $150 per month that will provide full and complete international cover not only in Australia but globally as well. This includes cover both inside and outside of the United States.
GeoBlue Navigator Health Plan for Students
The GeoBlue Navigator health plan meets the needs of International Students and Faculty by offering comprehensive worldwide benefits – inside and outside the U.S. – without the typical limits, eligibility conditions and benefits exclusions common among traditional plans.
As global lifestyles emerge, the demand for comprehensive international health insurance has grown rapidly. In response to this demand, a new generation of superior health plans is now available to serve expatriates and their families. This is a positive development for American expatriates who have historically had limited choice when it comes to coverage. Existing insurance options have often missed the mark because of limited benefits, long waiting periods, harsh exclusions, per-certification penalties, lack of portability and other hidden gotchas.
GeoBlue Navigator is the premier health plan for students and faculty because it combines these benefits with concierge-level medical assistance and easy access to an elite community of carefully selected hospitals outside the U.S. and a network of over 700,000 doctors and hospitals inside the U.S. through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Network. GeoBlue Navigator gives international students and faculty peace of mind, knowing they always have the freedom to access top medical care and benefits no matter where their ministries take them.
Because your student will be compelled to enroll in an OSHC approved plan we suggest you consider the $2,500 Deductible plan option as a consideration. This is being suggested for several reasons. First when a person in outside the borders of the United States the deductible is HALF ($1,250) and second, the Navigator for Students has a very large Medical Evacuation Benefit, thirdly the monthly cost for the insurance is affordable. When you combine the cost of both the OSHC plan and the GeoBlue Navigator your monthly cost is essentially the same as applying for the $250 deductible plan – which is generally the plan people select for their children in other circumstances.
Important Note: The GeoBlue Navigator for Students is also available for the Australian Student coming to study here in the United States. The benefits far exceed the U.S. State Departments minimum requirements for coverage. This plan again is global in scope of coverage and the J1 or F1 visa holder is covered when they leave the borders of the United States.
The Navigator is true global coverage and it can be used when needed in Australia, the United States or anywhere else on the globe. It stands separately on its own in addition you can use it along with your OSHC cover. This solutions provides your child with the best of both worlds. They meet their student Visa requirement by enrolling in OSHC and your child also gains full global coverage with a U.S. based insurance company AND the Power of Blue.
Call for Help
I am an International Health Insurance specialist based in the United States. I work with people all over the globe many with very unique circumstances and requirements. If I do not know the answer to your questions I have the resources to find out. There are few U.S. based brokers who work daily in this field. Feel free to contact me with questions by calling me at (307) 690-0427 or send me an email to “firstname.lastname@example.org“. Please feel free to visit our website and shop online. I am here to help!
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