Health insurance details for international students

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 strongly recommended to have basic and extended health insurance.

Get started

  1. After you register for classes, check your fees on your Student Services Centre (SSC) under Finances > Financial Summary to see if you are covered by iMED and the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. If you think you should be covered, but do not see the fees on your account, contact International Student Advising.

  2. As soon as you arrive in BC, apply for MSP for yourself and any family members who came with you as it can take several months to process. If you will be in BC for six months or less, you are not eligible to apply. If you already have MSP, you should opt out of iMED with David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS).

  3. Your iMED card will be sent to you via email. Be sure to download and print it as soon as you receive it. If you do not receive your card, contact DCIS.

  4. Pick up your AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan card (Pay Direct Card) and information booklet at the Health & Dental Plan Office (NEST 3128) after classes begin.

Basic health insurance during your first 3 months in Canada (iMED)

What you need

iMED, until you are eligible for MSP, or

iMED, for the entirety of your studies if you are a one-term exchange student

What it will cover

  • Doctor visits (for injuries or illnesses)
  • Hospital visits

Coverage period

First three months from the month of arrival in Canada, or

Full term if you are a one-term exchange student.

Approximate cost

Effective May 1, 2019

  • $180 for three months, or
  • $252 for one term exchange students; and
  • $9.74 for a one-time direct billing fee (for Vancouver campus students only).

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 via email approximately one month prior to the start of the academic term.

If you have family members, you are responsible for adding them to iMED.

Read more on iMED

Basic health insurance after your first 3 months in Canada (MSP)

What you need

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

What it will cover

  • Doctor visits
  • Hospital visits
  • Medical tests

Coverage period

This plan covers you for 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.

Approximate cost

Effective January 1, 2018:

MSP premium: $37.50 for an individual per month ($75.00 for a family of two or more)

There are no premiums for children under the age of 19, including international students.

Also, students who are 19-24 years old and who are both attending university and covered on their parent/guardian’s MSP account can continue to be covered as children on the parent/guardian’s account and will not be charged premiums until they turn 25 years old, if they are:

  1. Unmarried (and not in a marriage-like relationship),
  2. Financially supported by the parent or guardian, and
  3. Attending a recognized post-secondary school on a full-time basis

Effective September 1, 2019

International students 19 years or older:

  • $37.50 MSP premium per month, and 
  • $37.50 health-care coverage fee per month

International students 18 years or younger:

  • $37.50 health care coverage fee per month

If your family is with you in Canada, they will only be assessed the new health-care coverage fee if they also hold study permits. If they hold work permits or are here as visitors, they will not be assessed the fee.

Effective January 1, 2020

All international students: $75 health-care coverage fee per month

If your family is with you in Canada, they will only be assessed the new health-care coverage fee if they also hold study permits. If they hold work permits or are here as visitors, they will not be assessed the fee.

These fees are subject to change. Check the MSP website for the most up to date information.

How to enrol

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 could take several months. 

Once processed, you will receive your BC Services Card (formerly known as 'BC CareCard') by mail and receive an invoice each month which you must pay monthly.

Read more on MSP

Extended health insurance

What you need

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 will cover

  • Vision care
  • Dental care
  • Up to 80% of prescription drug costs
  • Travel health coverage (outside of your home country)

Coverage period

If you start your studies at UBC in September: For one year; September 1 to August 31

If you start your studies at UBC in January: For 8 months; January 1 to August 31

How much will it cost

$256.92 for one year.

$171.28 for 8 months.

The fee is charged to your student account.

Fees are subject to change

How to enrol

You are automatically enrolled when registering for classes (except exchange students who pay tuition at their home university).

If you have family members, you are responsible for adding them to AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan.

Read more on AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

Note for exchange students