Health insurance

student filling out health insurance paperwork

Good health starts with making sure you have up-to-date health insurance. UBC requires that all students, both domestic and international, have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their studies.

Apply for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) when you arrive.

If you are an international student you must apply for MSP for yourself and any family members who come with you as soon as you arrive in BC, as processing your MSP application can take several months.

Overview of Basic & Extended Health Insurance

Basic Health Insurance

The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the provincial government program that provides basic medical benefits.

  • Everyone living in British Columbia for more than six months is required to enrol in MSP (except students with existing coverage from another Canadian province or territory).
  • You should apply for MSP immediately upon your arrival. As there is a three-month waiting period before MSP coverage will start, you must ensure you have basic health insurance for those first three months in British Columbia.

Aboriginal students

If you are a Status Indian, it is recommended that you also have your Status Card with you when accessing health or medical services, in addition to the health card (e.g. Care Card) from your home province or territory.

Domestic students

Canadian students from other provinces or territories can remain under their home province or territory health plan as long as they remain students.

International students

If you are an international student or exchange student, you will be automatically enrolled in iMED, a temporary health insurance that provides you with basic coverage during the three-month waiting period for MSP.

Canadian citizens or permanent residents

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and have applied for MSP coverage, you are advised to join the Global Campus Health Plan during the three-month MSP waiting period.

Extended Health Insurance

All students are automatically enrolled in the UBC Students’ Union Okanagan (UBCSUO) Health & Dental Plan when registering for classes (except exchange students paying tuition at their home university). Extended health insurance covers up to 80% of the cost of prescription medicine, dental care, vision care, and travel insurance.

  • All UBC students are required to have extended health insurance.
  • If you are an exchange student and you pay tuition at your home university, you are not automatically enrolled in the UBCSUO Health & Dental Plan. You may, however, be eligible to apply once you arrive at UBC. It is important that you have extended health and dental coverage while you are in Canada. Refer to the UBCSUO for more information.

Already covered by an extended health & dental plan?

You can request to opt out of the Health & Dental Plan. If you register for term one (Winter Session) and you want to opt out, you must do so within the first three weeks of classes or within the first three weeks of your registration date, whichever is later. Contact the UBCSUO Office in the UNC for more information.

Health Insurance details for International Students

International Student Health Insurance

All international students are required to have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their studies at UBC, as health care in Canada can cost thousands of dollars per day if you do not have valid health insurance. Accompanying family members are also required to have basic and extended health insurance.

iMED Medical Service Plan (MSP) Extended Health Insurance
What it is Basic health insurance during first three months in Canada. Basic health insurance after first three months in BC, Canada. Extended health insurance for duration of studies at UBC.
When you need it Temporarily, until you are eligible for MSP (or for the entirety of your studies if you are a one-term exchange student). MSP is mandatory if a student holds a Study Permit for six months or longer (this does not apply to exchange students OR one-term exchange students staying in BC for less than six months). The information below pertains to the Student Union Health and Dental Plan.
What it covers Doctors visits (for injury or illness).
Hospital visits
Doctor visits
Hospital visits
Tests
Vision care
Dental care
Up to 80% of prescription drug costs
Travel health coverage (outside of home country)
Coverage period First three months from the month of arrival in Canada, or full term if you are a one-term exchange student. As long as you remain enrolled and eligible for MSP.
Your MSP coverage expires when your primary immigration document expires, such as your study permit or post-graduation work permit. You are responsible for notifying Health Insurance BC about the extension of your stay in Canada before the expiry date on your BC Service Card in order to continue being covered by the MSP plan.
Term 1: September 1 to December 31
Term 2: January 1 to August 31
Approximate cost $180 for three months, or
$252 for one term exchange students. The fee is charged to your student account.
Fees are subject to change.
As of September 1st, 2019, $75.00 per month for an individual (fees are subject to change). The fee is charged to your student account.
Fees are subject to change.
How to enrol You are automatically enrolled when registering for classes. Your iMED card will be sent to you shortly afterwards via email. If you have family members, you are responsible for adding them to iMED. You must apply for MSP for yourself and any family members who come with you as soon as you arrive in British Columbia.
Processing your MSP application can take several months.
Once processed you will receive invoice from MSP with your CareCard so you can pay and are covered.
You are automatically enrolled when registering for classes (except exchange students paying tuition at their home university).
More information iMED information for international students. MSP information for international students. UBCSUO Health & Dental Plan.