iMED: Temporary health insurance for international students

About iMED

What is iMED?

iMED is a temporary basic health insurance plan required as a condition of registering as an international student who is new to UBC. iMED provides you with basic health insurance during the three-month waiting period before you qualify for the British Columbia-government run Medical Services Plan (MSP), or for the duration of your study term if you are a one-term exchange student or a VIRS student. The provider is David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS), located in Vancouver.

See health insurance for international students to learn about the differences between iMED, MSP, and the UBCSUO Health and Dental Plan.

Who is eligible and how do I apply?

All new international students who are assessed UBCSUO student fees are automatically enrolled in iMED when you register for your first course. Check your Student Service Centre (SSC) account to confirm you are charged for iMED. If you are charged, you are covered. If you do not see the fee listed in your financial summary, contact International Programs & Services.

If you are starting in Winter Session 2020, you will need to confirm when you will travel to Canada, starting from 3 weeks before your travel date, to activate iMED coverage for your arrival. After you have confirmed your arrival date, your iMED card will be sent to you through email. Please see information below for students starting in Winter Session 2020.

If you already have MSP or you will complete your full program of studies outside of Canada, you can see instructions below for how to opt out of iMED.

Who is not eligible for iMED?

Returning UBC international students who previously had iMED coverage, students who are not assessed UBCSUO student fees, and domestic students are not eligible for iMED. You should purchase private temporary insurance, such as the Global Campus Health Plan (GCHP).

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When am I covered?

iMED coverage dates are set according to the type and duration of your study program. If you are a new student beginning studies in Winter Session 2020, you will need to confirm your arrival date using the instructions below. Your iMED coverage dates will appear on your iMED Card. You will be covered even if you have not paid your fees yet.

One-term exchange students and VIRS students are covered for the entire duration of their program of studies. All other new international students are covered for the three-month waiting period before they become eligible for MSP. This waiting period includes the remainder of the month you arrive in British Columbia plus two full months. For example, if you arrived in BC on August 25, you would be eligible for MSP coverage starting November 1. iMED will ensure that you have adequate medical coverage from the time you leave home (up to 10 days prior to your arrival in Canada), with the earliest arrival date in Canada being:

  • August 1 for Winter Session Term 1
  • December 1 for Winter Session Term 2
  • April 1 for Summer Session Term 1
  • June 1 for Summer Session Term 2

If you studied in Canada

Ensure you were assessed iMED fees by checking your UBC tuition account and your email for your iMED card.

If your coverage period did not match your first 3 months in Canada, you needed to request an iMED date change, or advanced coverage.

If you studied online outside of Canada or changed your program start date

You may have needed to take action since your iMED coverage was based on starting your program in Canada in May.

If you deferred your program and withdrew from all the courses in which you registered for the summer before the add/drop deadline, your iMED fees were automatically removed. When you register in the future, you will automatically be enrolled again.

You would have needed to request changes if you were:

  • Starting your program online outside of Canada and you wanted your iMED fee moved to a future term or
  • Deferring your program after the add/drop deadline and you wanted your iMED fee removed or
  • Studying outside of Canada as a one-term exchange student or a VIRS student and wanted your iMED fee removed

The deadline for all change requests was July 31, 2020. If you missed the deadline you will need to purchase private temporary insurance for your first 3 months in BC, such as the Global Campus Health Plan.

If you’re beginning your studies in Winter Session 2020, make sure you’ve been charged for iMED fees by checking your account through the Student Services Centre (SSC).

You are also automatically enrolled in the UBCSUO Health and Dental Plan, which you can only use in Canada. Learn about opting out if you will be outside of Canada.

If you will study in Canada

You will receive an email from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) with information related to your iMED health insurance and a request for you to confirm your arrival date in Canada. You must confirm your arrival date with DCIS by following the instructions provided in the email. This applies to you whether you will start Winter Term 1 in Canada or if you will start your program online outside of Canada and will travel at a later date.

If you do not know when you will arrive in Canada, this is not a problem. You do not need to take action until 3 weeks before or after your arrival, and can travel until December 31, 2021.

We recommend that you confirm your arrival date before you travel by providing your scanned flight tickets to DCIS starting from 3 weeks before your arrival date.

You can also confirm your arrival with DCIS up to 3 weeks after you’ve arrived in Canada by providing your scanned flight tickets, boarding pass(es), study permit, passport stamp, or landing documents.

Once you confirm your arrival with DCIS, you will receive your iMED card by email. Confirm the iMED coverage period on your iMED card is correct. iMED coverage should start from the month you arrive in British Columbia plus two months to cover the BC MSP waiting period, or cover the full duration of your program of studies if you are a one-term exchange student or a VIRS student.

If your arrival plans change, you can request an adjustment of your iMED coverage period. Email DCIS immediately to inform them your plans have changed so your coverage can be cancelled. Once you know your new arrival date, submit another iMED arrival date confirmation request online through DCIS website before December 31, 2021. You will receive a new iMED card by email with a new coverage period.

If you will complete your full program online outside of Canada

If you will complete your full program online outside of Canada and will not travel to Canada, you might qualify to opt-out from iMED and have your iMED fees refunded.

If you’re beginning your studies in Winter Session 2020, make sure you’ve been charged for iMED fees by checking your account through the Student Services Centre (SSC).

You are also automatically enrolled in the UBCSUO Health and Dental Plan, which you can only use in Canada. Learn about opting out if you will be outside of Canada.

If you will study in Canada

You will receive an email from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) with information related to your iMED health insurance and a request for you to confirm your arrival date in Canada. You must confirm your arrival date with DCIS by following the instructions provided in the email. This applies to you whether you will start Winter Term 1 in Canada or if you will start your program online outside of Canada and will travel at a later date.

If you do not know when you will arrive in Canada, this is not a problem. You do not need to take action until 3 weeks before or after your arrival, and can travel until December 31, 2021.

We recommend that you confirm your arrival date before you travel by providing your scanned flight tickets to DCIS starting from 3 weeks before your arrival date.

You can also confirm your arrival with DCIS up to 3 weeks after you’ve arrived in Canada by providing your scanned flight tickets, boarding pass(es), study permit, passport stamp, or landing documents.

Once you confirm your arrival with DCIS, you will receive your iMED card by email. Confirm the iMED coverage period on your iMED card is correct. iMED coverage should start from the month you arrive in British Columbia plus two months to cover the BC MSP waiting period, or cover the full duration of your program of studies if you are a one-term exchange student or a VIRS student.

If your arrival plans change, you can request an adjustment of your iMED coverage period. Email DCIS immediately to inform them your plans have changed so your coverage can be cancelled. Once you know your new arrival date, submit another iMED arrival date confirmation request online through DCIS website before December 31, 2021. You will receive a new iMED card by email with a new coverage period.

If you will complete your full program online outside of Canada

If you will complete your full program online outside of Canada and will not travel to Canada, you might qualify to opt-out from iMED and have your iMED fees refunded.

Changing your iMED coverage dates

If you’re a one-term exchange student, your iMED coverage dates are fixed and cannot be changed.

All students on iMED

If you arrive in BC before your iMED coverage start date, you may purchase “Advance Coverage” from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS), using the Advance Coverage Application Form.

Advance Coverage should be purchased before you arrive in Canada. If you apply for Advance Coverage after your arrival in Canada, you might not be covered until the date of your purchase.

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How much does iMED cost?

Starting Winter Term 1, 2020 (September 2020), iMED costs $225 for the first three months, or $315 if you are a one-term exchange student. You are also charged a one-time $9.94 direct billing fee so you do not have to pay up-front at local emergency rooms.

What if I withdraw from UBC or defer?

If you defer your program and withdraw from all courses in which you registered before the add/drop deadline, your iMED fees will automatically be removed. View your “Financial Summary” under Finances in your Student Service Centre (SSC) to verify that your iMED fee has been removed from your account.

When you register in the future, you will automatically be enrolled in iMED again.

Any iMED fee charged to your account will be frozen starting from the last day to drop/withdraw from classes without a Withdrawal-standing (a “W” on your transcript). If after that date you withdraw from UBC or defer to the next term, the iMED fee will not be removed and you will be required to pay for it.

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How do I get my iMED card?

After you register for courses, or if you are starting in Winter Session 2020 after you have confirmed your arrival in Canada, David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) will email your iMED card to the email address you provided to UBC when registering for your first class.Check your inbox and junk-mail folders. Print your iMED card and keep it with you at all times. If you don’t receive your iMED card, please email DCIS at info@david-cummings.com.

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How do I use my iMED insurance?

iMED covers emergency hospitalization and medical services (including outpatient treatment at a doctor’s clinic) for an unexpected sickness or injury. The full policy is available on the iMED website. 

With your iMED card, you don’t have to pay for your visit if you see a doctor at the UBCO Student Health Clinic. However, you will pay for any test that is ordered by a doctor there, so keep the receipt and submit a claim on the iMED website later. Your iMED card is recognized for direct billing at emergency facilities and the following medical clinics and pharmacies.

You can see a doctor in any other clinic or hospital in British Columbia, but you may need to pay upfront for medical costs during your visit. You must keep the receipts in order to make a claim to be reimbursed for health services covered by iMED.

Carry a copy of your study permit,or keep a digital copy on your mobile device at all times. You must present a copy of your study permit with your iMED Card if treated at a hospital to ensure you are billed fees  applicable to a resident of BC.

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Opting out of iMED

You can apply to opt out of iMED if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are already covered by iMED,  BC MSP or by another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan before the iMED coverage start date (August 1 for Winter Term 1 and December 1 for Winter Term 2)
  • The third-party organization which is funding your studies (it must be a formal organization such as a government body, corporation, organization or foundation, not your parents or family members) requires, and has selected and purchased a basic health insurance plan on your behalf as part of its funding
  • You are starting your program in Winter Session 2020 and you will complete your full program of studies online while being physically outside Canada

If you’re already covered by iMED, BC MSP, or another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan

You can apply to opt out of iMED using the DCIS Opt-Out Form online or by faxing it along with supporting documents to DCIS at 604 228 9807.

If you’ve become a Canadian permanent resident

First update your status with Student Services. You will need to provide documentation with your request.

You can apply to opt out of iMED using the DCIS Opt-Out Form online or by faxing it along with supporting documents to DCIS at 604 228 9807.

Deadline to apply to opt out from iMED

Opt-out applications must be received by the add/drop date as per the UBC Academic Calendar, except if you are starting your program in Winter Session 2020 and you will complete your full program of studies online while being physically outside Canada. In that case, students should follow the below timeline.

Students starting in Winter Term 1 2020 can opt out of iMED:

  • One-term programs: December 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021
  • Eight-month (one academic year) programs: April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021
  • Twelve-month programs: June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021
  • Thirteen-month or longer programs: December 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022

Students starting in Winter Term 2 2020 can opt out of iMED:

  • One-term programs: April 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021

Conditions to opt out from iMED

Students who have a claim made or pending on their iMED policy are not eligible to opt out from iMED.

Students who have enrolled dependents onto their iMED plan are not eligible to opt out from iMED.

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Enrol your family

Your spouse, partner, or dependent children can also be covered by David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) for the duration of their stay or until they qualify for MSP. Your family members’ insurance is not administered by UBC, but you can purchase iMED for them directly through DCIS. If you are not covered by iMED at the moment, you can inquire about other health insurance options for your dependents. More information is available on the iMED website.

If you add your family member(s) to your iMED account, you cannot opt out or cancel your iMED unless you withdraw your family from the iMED plan before the coverage starts. This also applies to advance coverage.

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Health and wellbeing resources

Visit UBCO Health & Wellness to learn more about the health and wellbeing resources available to you. 

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If you have questions

For questions about iMED coverage, getting your iMED card, or reimbursements, contact David Cummings Insurance Services

.If you have any other questions related to international health insurance, contact International Programs & Services.

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International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

View the guide

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