iMED: Temporary health insurance for 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)

About iMED

If you withdraw from UBC or defer to the next term, view your financial summary on your SSC to verify that your iMED fee has been removed from your account.

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 society fees are automatically enrolled in iMED when they register for their first course.

Returning international students and students who are not assessed student society fees are not eligible for iMED; check your Student Service Centre (SSC) tuition account to confirm coverage.

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 who has been approved to study at UBC through Go Global.

With your iMED card, you don’t have to pay for your visit if you see a doctor at Student Health Service at UBC or the University Village Medical and Dental Clinics on campus. However, you will pay for any test that is ordered by a doctor there, so keep the receipt and submit a claim on the iMED website later. You can see a doctor in any other clinic or hospital in British Columbia, but you may be required to pay at the moment. You must keep the receipts in order to make a claim and be reimbursed.

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 your study program. Your iMED coverage dates will appear on your iMED Card.

One-term exchange students1 are covered as follows:

  • Summer Term 1 (May – June 2020): April 24, 2020 – August 27, 2020
  • Summer Term 2 (July – August 2020): May 22, 2020 – September 24, 2020
  • Winter Session Term 1 (September – December 2020): August 30, 2020 – January 2, 2021
  • Winter Session Term 2 (January – April 2021): December 25, 2020 – April 29, 2021

All other new international students (degree seeking, non-degree seeking, visiting, and unclassified) 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 coverage starting 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:

  • August 1 for Winter Session Term 1
  • December 1 for Winter Session Term 2
  • April 1 for Summer Session Term 1
  • June 1 for Summer Session Term 2

Visiting international research students will be covered under iMED. Coverage and costs will be determined by the duration of the research period.    

1 One-term exchange students: Students who have been approved to study at UBC through Go Global.

Changing your iMED coverage dates

One-Term Exchange Students: Your iMED coverage dates are fixed and cannot be changed.

Degree and Two-Term Exchange Students:  
If you arrive in BC later than the calendar month in which your iMED starts (for example, if your iMED starts August 1, but you arrive in September), then you must submit the Date Change Form to David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) so that your coverage can be adjusted to cover your three month waiting period for MSP. Submit the Date Change Form and a copy of your study permit after you arrive in BC, and before the end of your third week of classes.

All students on iMED:
If you arrive in BC before your iMED coverage start date, you may purchase 'Advance Coverage' from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS), using the Advance Coverage Application Form

NOTE: Advance Coverage should be purchased before you arrive in Canada. If you apply for Advance Coverage after your arrival in Canada, you might not be covered until the date of your purchase.

How much does it cost?

iMED costs $180 for the first three months or $252 if you are a one-term exchange student. You are also charged a  one-time $9.74 direct billing fee so you can be covered for emergency room services.

Starting Winter Term 1 2020 (September 2020), iMED will cost $225 for the first three months or $315 if you are a one-term exchange student. You are also charged a  one-time $9.94 direct billing fee so you can be covered for emergency room services.

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

If after that date you withdraw from UBC or defer to next term after and you were not in Canada at any time during the iMED coverage period, contact International Student Advising at 604.822.5021 or email 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 student 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 to UBC when registering for your first class. DCIS will email your 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. 

iMED card

You will receive your iMED card by email after you register for classes. Print it out 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 a link with arrowcontacts for emergency and claim assistance. Print the card out and place it in your wallet. Your iMED card is recognized for direct billing at the following medical clinics and pharmacies: 



You can see a doctor in any other clinic or hospital in British Columbia, but you may need to pay upfront for medical costs during your visit. You must keep the receipts in order to make a claim to be reimbursed.

Carry a copy of your study permit (or keep a digital copy on your mobile device) at all times. You must present a copy of your study permit with your iMED Card if treated at a hospital to ensure you are billed fees that are applicable to a resident of BC. 

Opting out of iMED

You can apply to opt out of iMED if you meet one of the following conditions:
  • You are already covered by iMED or MSP before iMED coverage starts

  • You are covered by another Canadian provincial/territorial health plan

  • The third-party organization which is funding your studies (it must be a formal organization such as a government body, corporation, organization or foundation, not your parents or family members) requires, and has selected and purchased a basic health insurance plan on your behalf as part of its funding

  • You have become a Canadian permanent resident and have Canadian provincial/territorial health insurance before the iMED coverage start date (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 apply to opt out of iMED using the DCIS Opt-Out Form and faxing it along with supporting documents to David Cummings Insurance Services at 604.228.9807. You can also apply to opt out online.

If you have health insurance selected, required and purchased for you by the third party funding organization which is funding your studies (see the 3rd bullet point above), download the UBC iMED Opt Out Form and email the completed form with supporting documents to

Note: Exchange students whose home institution administers private health insurance without funding your studies do not qualify you to opt-out from iMED.

Opt-out applications must be received by the Add/Drop Date as per the UBC Calendar.

Enrol your family

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

iMED vs. MSP

Related topics

Get help

International Student Advising

Talk to an advisor

International Student Advisors are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) who can help.

When emailing us, include the following information in the email:

  1. Your student number in the subject line
  2. Your name
  3. Your citizenship(s)
  4. All permit and visa expiration dates (if applicable)
  5. Currently in Canada (YES or NO)
  6. If you request specific assistance, please provide detailed information including applicable documents, such as a rejection letter
UBC Life Building
1200-6138 Student Union Blvd.
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


9:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm