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    Surely the simple solution is to have it as a requirement of their Student Visas that foreign students have a mandated level of private health insurance. The details of that insurance should be held by immigration and when a foreign student is treated in a public hospital the bill could be forwarded directly to the insurance company for payment.

  2. 2


    It is a condition of student visas that foreign students buy private health insurance. See

    Outpatient costs corresponding to the Medicare Benefit Schedule should be covered, as are, according to the Dept of Health, inpatient services. The problem sounds more like a communication issue where the hospital has pounced on students, who think they need to pay upfront, instead of being able to send the bill to the insurance company.

  3. 3


    My understanding was that all foreigners here on visa’s, including student visa’s, had to have private health insurance paid up in advance. I thought this also included effectively medicare level cover for non-hospital things like GP visits as well.

    The one about international medical graduates not being medicare eligible is just rude.

  4. 4

    Doctor Whom

    I haven’t checked details lately but all overseas visitors have to pay health costs unless your country has some reciprocal arrangement with Oz. It’s no news.

    Try getting a broken arm fixed while on holidays or at a conference in USA – you’ll have to sell the negative geared investment flat to pay for it.

    If the bit about international medical graduates working in areas of need is true then it is just plain stupid.

  5. 5


    …and this ‘Brisbane doctor’ is presumably spending their days seeing overseas students for nothing?

  6. 6

    Andrew Gunn

    A few points of clarification might be needed.

    This is my understanding:

    All overseas students are required to have health insurance. None of them are free loading.

    Until recently, public hospitals would treat overseas students and then bill the insurer.

    Now, some public hospitals expect substantial upfront payments.

    This is already having a noticeable impact.

    Many students are from developing countries and can’t pay large upfront fees on the assurance that they should eventually be recoverable from an insurer. Patients are already avoiding hospitals. This could easily have tragic consequences sooner or later.

    And no, the “brisbane doctor” doesn’t see overseas students for nothing. I charge their insurers so, in effect, they’re bulk billed.


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