Medical insurance and health 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 I 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.
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 an 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. Your iMED coverage will begin on August 1.
A couple of tips:
- If you arrive in BC before August, purchase advanced coverage.
- If you arrive after August, submit a date change form so that your iMED dates match your specific MSP waiting period.
- If you will study online outside of Canada, learn more about how to postpone your iMED coverage on the International Student Advising’s FAQs page. Look for the heading “I am a new student starting in Winter Term 1. How is my iMED health insurance affected?“
- If you already have MSP, will be covered by another provincial health plan for the waiting period or already have required health insurance through a third party organization who is funding your studies, opt-out of iMED by the deadline.
How do I 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. Your health and dental plan fees will appear alongside your tuition and student fees in your Student Service Centre account.
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.
What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
If you’re being treated for a medical condition, consult your health care 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.
What if I 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.