The thought of studying and getting a degree in Australia triggers endless number of questions in the mind of an international student.
Some of the common ones are:
How will I find accommodation?
What if I face financial problems there?
Will I be able to overcome the language barrier?
How will I make arrangements for the sufficient level of Health Cover?
This is also followed by edginess of going through months of paperwork and applications, travelling thousands of miles and undertaking the challenging course of study.
While getting solutions for these concerns certainly pave the way to ensure a smooth transition to the "land down under”. There’s one question that rarely comes up but has a huge impact on your international journey.
What happens if you become pregnant while studying in Australia?
No doubt the situation is relatively rare, it does happen, whether it’s planned or unplanned. And falling pregnant while you study in Australia greatly affects your student visa.
Let’s see how!
It is evident that international students must have adequate level of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to meet the medical and hospital care costs in Australia.
This health cover clearly specifies that pregnancy is not covered for international students with the exception of emergency medical situations that may arise.
Not having a sufficient level of health cover for the duration of stay in Australia means breaching the condition 8501, which ultimately results into the cancellation of visa.
Hence, it is essential to know OSHC policies thoroughly including the pregnancy related services along with the childbirth.
Upgrading the OSHC Policy
OSHC comprises of three policies- Single, Dual and Multi-family. If you fall pregnant in Australia, you need to upgrade your policy before the baby is born.
If your policy covers the benefits for a single person, you need to upgrade to dual or multi-family policy.
If you are on dual family policy and have one spouse or recognised de-facto and more than one dependent child in your policy, you need to upgrade it to multi-family policy. Both dual and multi-family policy will increase the amount of premium you pay for the policy.
However, if you are already on multi-family policy, you just need to add baby in your policy and there will not be any changes in your premium.
The policy must be upgraded within 60 days of baby’s birth date to avoid waiting periods and ensure baby is covered for medical services that may need.
Once the baby is born, all you need to do is to contact your OSHC provider to add him/her in the policy.
Choosing the Hospital
One can choose to have baby either as:
- Patient in public hospital OR
- Patient in private hospital (Gap fees & out-of-pocket costs applicable)
Types of Pregnancy Care Covered in OSHC Policy
In Australia, pregnancy care is provided by obstetricians, doctors or midwives.
You need to consult your local doctor first and get recommended for the services of an obstetrician or qualified midwife. Such individuals partake in a shared maternity care program to manage pregnancy. That practitioner or specialist you choose will then be responsible to see you on a daily basis throughout your pregnancy.
Shared maternity care is usually given to women who are healthy and include no complications in pregnancy. Doctors or midwives involved in the care may charge some gap fees but the amount is likely to be less than obstetrician fees.
Obstetricians in public hospitals are the doctors having specialisations in pregnancies and birth. Such individuals are generally involved in providing care if a woman experience complications during the pregnancy. One needs to attend public hospital antenatal clinic and get referred by the local doctor for your initial consultation.
If you choose to select your own obstetrician, you need to have your baby at the hospital, with whom your obstetrician is affiliated. You can first choose your hospital and ask for a list of obstetricians.
Note: Without a referral from the local doctor, you won’t be able to take your first obstetric appointment. You also need to confirm the fees of private obstetricians and the Medicare item numbers. Once you have all this information, OSHC provider can confirm your gap fees.
Once the baby is born and doesn’t require to be formally admitted to hospital, any charges will not be incurred for the baby’s care. However, in case the baby needs treatment and requires to be admitted as an in-patient of the hospital, you may require to pay certain portion of the costs. This amount usually refers to the co-payment that is payable on your policy. The same is also applicable in case of twins or multiple births.
Services not covered in OSHC Pregnancy Care
- Out-of-hospital medical expenses including consultation and check-ups from obstetrician.
- Excesses and co-payments (if the baby is formally admitted to hospital)
- Fee for the paediatrician’s visit (on private health insurance policy)
Looking to add pregnancy cover in your OSHC? You can get the best quote at www.getmypolicy.online.
At Getmypolicy.online, you can compare a wide range of OSHC plans by leading health insurance providers on different parameters and pick the one that meet your requirements.
For further assistance on upgrading your OSHC policy, you can get in touch with our experts today at firstname.lastname@example.org.