Health insurance

Find out what kind of health insurance you need and how to enrol

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.

Overview of basic and extended health insurance

Basic health insurance overview

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).

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

  • If you come to British Columbia without coverage under MSP or another provincial or territorial health plan and will be here for six months or longer, 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. Canadian citizens or permanent residents are advised to join the Global Campus Health Plan during that three-month MSP waiting period.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Extended health insurance overview

All students are automatically enrolled in the AMS/GSS Health and 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 AMS/GSS Health and 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. Visit the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan Office on campus for more information.

Already covered by an extended health and dental plan?

You can request to opt out of the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. If you register for term one (winter term) 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 AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan Office 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.

  Basic health insurance during first three months in Canada Basic health insurance after first three months in Canada Extended health insurance for duration of studies at UBC
What you need

iMED

temporarily, until you are eligible for MSP (or for the entirety of your studies if you are a one-term exchange student)

BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

unless you are a one-term exchange student or you plan on staying in BC for less than six months.

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

or similar extended health insurance from another source. The information below pertains to the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan.

What it covers
  • Doctor 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 Services Card in order to continue being covered by the MSP plan.
  • Term one: September 1 to December 31
  • Term two: 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.

  • $69.25 per month for an individual,
  • $125.50 for a family of two, or
  • $138.50 for a family of three or more.

You pay directly to MSP. Some employers may pay some or all of your MSP fees. Check with your employer for more information.

Fees are subject to change.

$219.31 per year.
 
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 get 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

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

 

Health insurance details for domestic students

Domestic student health insurance

All domestic students are required to have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their studies at UBC.

  Basic health insurance Extended health insurance
What you need

BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

or health coverage under another provincial or territorial basic health plan.

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

or similar extended health insurance from another source. The information below pertains to the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan.

What it covers
  • 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
  • As long as you remain enrolled and eligible for MSP or your home province or territory health plan.
  • Term one: September 1 to December 31
  • Term two: January 1 to August 31
Approximate cost
  • $69.25 per month for an individual,
  • $125.50 for a family of two, or
  • $138.50 for a family of three or more.

You pay directly to MSP. Some employers may pay some or all of your MSP fees. Check with your employer for more information.

Fees are subject to change.

$219.31 per year.
 
The fee is charged to your student account.
 
Fees are subject to change.
How to enrol
  • You can enrol with MSP directly.
  • You may already be covered under one or both of your parents’ plans.
  • You do not need to switch to MSP if you are covered under another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan (as long as you remain a student).
You are automatically enrolled when registering for classes.
More information

MSP information for domestic students

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

 

Fair PharmaCare

What is it?

Fair Pharmacare helps residents of British Columbia with the cost of certain prescription drugs and medical supplies.

Why do I need it?

In most cases, your AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan will cover up to 80% of eligible prescriptions. However, you may choose to apply for Fair Pharmacare to cover more expensive prescriptions for chronic health conditions that are not covered by the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan.

When do I need it?

If you are an international student with a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and already have MSP coverage, you may be eligible to apply for Fair Pharmacare. You must apply for and receive your MSP and SIN before you submit your application for Fair Pharmacare.

How do I get it?

You can submit an application for Fair Pharmacare online. The application requests that you provide information from your last year’s Canadian tax return. 

If you are a new international student who has not yet filed tax returns, you will need to complete an application for income review. In addition to the income review, you will need to contact MSP by phone at 604-683-7151 to request that another form be sent to you by mail or fax. The name of this form is the “Notarized Affidavit”, where you will include any world income from outside of Canada in the past year. You must take this form to a notary to be stamped (check online for notaries near UBC; there will be a fee) and then send the original form back to MSP at the following address:

Medical Services Plan
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C.  V8W 9E3

Key contacts

AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan
  • AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan Office in the SUB
    Room 61 (lower level)  6138 SUB Boulevard
    VancouverBC Canada V6T 1Z1