Health insurance and coverage are important topics for all new students – whether you’re coming to UBC from another province or territory, or from across the globe. As a UBC student, you must have both basic and extended health insurance coverage over the course of your studies. Here’s a quick look at what steps you need to take (if any).
How do you get basic health insurance?
Basic health insurance will vary from student to student. You may have one or a combination of out-of-province health insurance, the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), or iMED.
If you’re a resident of BC and currently covered by MSP, no action is required on your part, , but remember to renew your MSP if you are a current international student and you have extended your study permit.
If you’re a Canadian student with a health plan in another province or territory, you do not need to switch to BC MSP. You’ll be covered by the health plan in your home province or territory as long as you remain a student. If you choose to switch to MSP, you’ll need to apply.
Canadian students coming from abroad
If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada returning to Canada after living abroad, you may already have health coverage in BC or another Canadian province or territory. If you don’t, you’ll need to apply for MSP and make arrangements to join the Global Campus Health Plan or another temporary insurance plan for the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect.
Canada has a public healthcare system. Everyone living in BC for longer than six months is required to join MSP, a basic health insurance policy for the province’s residents. If you’re a new-to-UBC international student, you’ll need to apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. During the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect, you’ll automatically be enrolled in a temporary health insurance plan called iMED after you register for courses if you are a new UBC student. Your iMED coverage will begin on August 1.
A couple of tips:
- If you arrive in BC before August, purchase advanced coverage. Make sure you take into account when you can travel based on the Canadian government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
- If you arrive after August, submit a date change formso that your iMED dates match your specific MSP waiting period.
- If you’re going to be studying online outside of Canada, information about how to postpone your iMED coverage will be on the International Student Advising’s FAQs.
- If you already have MSP, or you will be covered by another provincial health plan for the waiting period, or you already have required health insurance through a third party organization who is funding your studies, you should opt-out of iMED by the deadline.
Take a look at the health insurance for international students page to learn more about the differences between iMED, MSP and the AMS/GSS Health and Dental plan. If you have questions about healthcare or coverage in Canada, please contact an international student advisor on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.
How do you get extended health insurance?
As a UBC student, you will be automatically enrolled in the extended health and dental plan offered by the UBC Students’ Union Okanagan (UBCSUO) on the Okanagan campus or the Alma Mater Society/Graduate Student Society (AMS/GSS) on the Vancouver campus when you register for courses. Certain exceptions may apply, so make sure you check your Student Service Centre (SSC) account to confirm that you’ve been enrolled and charged the appropriate fee.
This extended health and dental plan through UBC works alongside your basic health insurance plan. For details on your coverage, or how to opt out if you already have equivalent coverage, please visit the Studentcare website.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition
If you’re being treated for a medical condition, consult your healthcare professional to make sure you’re well enough to take on the challenge of university. If you’re well enough to attend UBC, you’ll need to plan for treatment during your studies.
Find out if the treatment you need is available at UBC or nearby, how much it costs, and whether it will be covered under your basic and/or extended health insurance. The Health and Wellness Centre on the Okanagan campus and Student Health Service on the Vancouver campus offer on-campus medical clinics that are free for all UBC students.
If you have a documented disability
If you have a documented disability and require disability-related accommodation or academic support, please contact an advisor at the Disability Resource Centre on the Okanagan campus or Centre for Accessibility on the Vancouver campus to discuss your eligibility.