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10 Key Health Insurance Terms International Students and Visitors Must Know

Navigating health insurance policies can be overwhelming, especially for international students and visitors unfamiliar with the terminology. Understanding key terms and conditions is crucial for making informed decisions about your health coverage. This blog will explain some of the most common health insurance terms to help you better understand your policy and ensure you have the coverage you need.

1. Premium

The premium is the amount you pay for your health insurance policy, typically on a monthly or annual basis. This payment ensures that you are covered by the insurance plan and can access the benefits and services outlined in the policy.

Example: If your health insurance premium is 50 AUD per month, you need to pay this amount to maintain your coverage.

2. Deductible

The deductible is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket for healthcare services before your insurance begins to cover the costs. Higher deductibles usually mean lower premiums and vice versa.

Example: If your deductible is 200 AUD, you will need to pay this amount for covered services before your insurance starts to pay.

3. Copayment (Copay)

A copayment is a fixed amount you pay for a specific healthcare service or prescription medication at the time of service. This amount can vary depending on the type of service.

Example: You might pay a 20 AUD copay for a doctor's visit and a 10 AUD copay for a prescription drug.

4. Coinsurance

Coinsurance is the percentage of the cost of a covered healthcare service you pay after you've paid your deductible. Unlike copays, which are fixed amounts, coinsurance is a percentage.

Example: If your coinsurance is 20%, and the cost of a doctor's visit is 100 AUD, you will pay 20 AUD, and your insurance will cover the remaining 80 AUD.

5. Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The out-of-pocket maximum is the most you will have to pay for covered services in a policy period, typically a year. Once you reach this amount, your insurance will cover 100% of the costs for covered services.

Example: If your out-of-pocket maximum is 1,500 AUD, once you've paid this amount in deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, your insurance will cover all additional covered healthcare costs for the rest of the year.

6. Exclusions

Exclusions are specific conditions or circumstances that are not covered by your health insurance policy. It’s essential to review these carefully to understand what is not included in your coverage.

Example: Some health insurance policies may exclude coverage for elective cosmetic surgery or certain pre-existing conditions.

7. Pre-Existing Condition

A pre-existing condition is any health issue or illness that you had before your health insurance policy began. Some policies may not cover treatments related to pre-existing conditions for a specified period.

Example: If you have asthma before buying your health insurance policy, it might be considered a pre-existing condition.

8. Network

A network is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that have agreed to provide medical care at reduced rates for the insurance company's policyholders.

Example: If you visit a doctor within your insurance network, you may pay less out-of-pocket than if you see a doctor outside of the network.

9. Claim

A claim is a request for payment that you or your healthcare provider submit to your health insurance company for covered services.

Example: After a doctor's visit, the clinic will submit a claim to your insurance company to get paid for the services provided.

10. Policy Term

The policy term is the period during which your health insurance policy is active and provides coverage. This term is usually specified in the policy documents and can be monthly, yearly, etc.

Example: If your policy term is one year, you will need to renew or purchase a new policy after one year to continue coverage.


Understanding these key terms in health insurance policies can help you make informed decisions about your coverage. It ensures you know what to expect in terms of costs and services, and can help you choose a policy that best meets your needs.

For more detailed explanations and to explore various health insurance options for international students and visitors, visit OHC Guide. We're here to help you navigate the complexities of health insurance and find the best plan for your situation.

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