HEALTH CARE (page 1)

Health Cover

Read the text and then listen and answer the questions that follow.

If you are in Australia on a student visa you are covered by Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). If you are here on a different kind of visa, it is a good idea to have Health Cover, but it isn't compulsory.

If you have health cover, the system usually works like this ...

1. Usually when you go to the doctor, you pay the bill. Later you take the receipt into the office of your health fund (eg. Medibank, WorldCare, AHM) and you get some money back. Sometimes you get all of the money back and at other times you may need to pay part of the cost.

Some funds have an agreement with many doctors. The doctor sends the bill straight to your health fund. In this situation, the service may be free to you, or you may be asked to pay just a few dollars.

Show your health care card and ask the doctor's office staff what the payment arrangements are.

2. If you have to go to hospital, the health fund usually pays the hospital directly. You are covered in public hospitals and in some, but not all private hospitals. You should check with your health fund before you go to a private hospital.

Most funds will pay 100 percent of your hospital costs if you have OSHC, but you should check first.

3. Ambulance services are free if you have OSHC. If you have a different kind of cover, you need to check with your health fund.

4. You can sometimes get a refund (money back) on part of the cost of some expensive prescription drugs if you have OSHC.

5. You can get your money back by going into the office of your health fund. You may also be able to send a claim by mail or online. See your health fund's website for more information.

6. If you leave Australia for more than 30 days and plan to come back, it may be possible to suspend your health cover, so that you get an extra 30 days at the end. Contact your health fund for more information.

7. Some people have extras cover. It isn't compulsory, so many people don't have it. If you have it, you will get money back if you visit a dentist, physiotherapist or optometrist. If you don't have extras cover, you may have to pay for these services.

8. Students from Norway and Sweden are usually covered by the health scheme in their own country. The usually don't need OSHC or Private Health Cover.

9. If you don't have health cover, you can organise it in your country or in Australia.

You can find more about OSHC by going to the websites of the health funds and by speaking to the office staff at your school. This website has a good questions/answers page.