iMED Health Insurance for New International Students

iMED is a temporary basic health insurance plan required for new international students, and will provide you with health insurance coverage during the three month waiting period for BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP).

For up-to-date information on iMED coverage for the 2020 Summer and Winter sessions, please see our Immigration and Health Insurance FAQ on COVID-19 page here.

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. All new international students who are assessed student union fees are automatically enrolled in iMED when they register for their first course.
Students in certain programs are not assessed student union fees and thus are not covered by iMED; check your Student Service Centre (SSC) to confirm coverage.

If you require temporary basic health insurance and are not eligible for iMED, consider enrolling in Global Campus Health Plan.

Why do I need it?

iMED provides you with basic health insurance during the three-month waiting period before you qualify for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) or for the duration of your study term if you are a one-term exchange student.

With your iMED card, you can visit on campus clinic; walk-in clinics or hospitals in British Columbia but you may be required to pay at the moment. You must keep the receipts in order to make a claim to be reimbursed. You can come to International Programs & Services office (UNC 227) to get the assistance to claim your expenses.

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.

When am I covered?

iMED coverage dates are set according to the type and duration of study program new international students register for. Your iMED coverage dates will appear on your iMED Card.

One-term exchange students are covered for the four-month term as follows:

  • Summer Term 1: April 25, 2019 to August 28, 2019
  • Summer Term 2: May 24, 2019 to September 26, 2019
  • Winter Term 1: August 30, 2018 to January 2, 2019
  • Winter Term 2: December 27, 2018 to May 1, 2019

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 BC plus two full months. For example, if you arrived in BC on August 25, you would be eligible for MSP on 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:

  • Summer Term 1: April 1st
  • Summer Term 2: June 1st
  • Winter Term 1: August 1st
  • Winter Term 2: December 1st

How much does it cost?

iMED costs $180 for the first three months, or $252 if you are a one-term exchange student.

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

If you withdraw from UBC or defer to next term after that date and you were not in Canada at any time during the iMED coverage period, contact International Programs & Services Office to request that your iMED fee be removed from your account. The request must be received before the end of the third week of classes.

How do I enrol in iMED?

Once you register for your first class, the iMED fee will be assessed to your tuition account and you will be covered from the coverage starting date for the term you register. You will be covered even if you have not yet paid your fees.

How do I get my iMED card?

Your iMED card will be emailed to you from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS), to the email address you provided UBC when registering for your first class. DCIS starts to email iMED cards approximately one month prior to the start of each academic term. Check your inbox and junk-mail folders. Print your iMED card and keep it with you at all times.

How do I use my iMED insurance?

Your iMED card that is emailed to you will include instructions and contacts for emergency and claim assistance. Print the card out and place it in your wallet.

Change your iMED coverage

You have until the end of the third week of classes to change your iMED coverage dates.

Opting out of iMED

Only the following students can opt out of iMED:

  • Students already covered by iMED or MSP before iMED coverage starts
  • Students covered by another Canadian provincial/territorial health plan
  • Students whose tuition is sponsored by a third party (such as the Government of Canada, or the Canadian Bureau for International Education) and whose sponsor requires and provides mandatory health insurance
  • Students who have become Canadian permanent residents with Canadian provincial/territorial health insurance before iMED coverage starts (August 1 for Winter Term 1 and December 1 for Winter Term 2)

If you have MSP or another Canadian provincial/territorial health plan, you can opt out of iMED using the DCIS Opt Out Form (PDF) and faxing it along with supporting documents to David Cummings Insurance Services at 604 228 9807. You can also apply to opt out online.

Changing your iMED coverage dates

If you arrive in UBC after the iMED coverage start date, you can ask to have your coverage dates shifted so that you are covered for the first three months you’re in Canada and waiting for your MSP coverage to kick in. Complete and submit the Date Change Form (PDF).

If you are at UBC on exchange for one term, you cannot change the dates; however, you can purchase additional days of coverage, as needed. To do so, follow the instructions provided by David Cummings Insurance Services.

If you arrive in BC before the iMED coverage start date, you can change your coverage dates by applying for ‘Advance Coverage’. To do so, you need to download the Advance Coverage Application Form. You will directly purchase iMED from David Cummings Insurance Services and the iMED fee on your student account will be removed after David Cummings Insurance Services confirms your advance coverage with UBC.

Make sure you submit any date changes by the end of the third week of classes.

Enrol your family in iMED

Your spouse, partner, or dependent children can also be covered by David Cummings Insurance Services 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 David Cummings Insurance Services. 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.

Note: 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 advanced coverage.