Health insurance for Indigenous students

Notice about BC MSP

All residents of British Columbia are required to enrol with MSP. Only residents who formally opt out of all provincial health care programs are exempt. 

Generally, Status Native and Inuit residents enroll through Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. In BC, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is responsible for the MSP program. Eligible clients who are new to BC or have just turned 19 years of age may apply for the FNHA to cover MSP costs.

Basic health insurance

The FNHA Health Benefits Program covers the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) and other health insurance coverage for Indigenous students. Once your coverage application is received, verified, and approved, the cost of the premium is paid directly by the FNHA Health Benefits program.

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 or BC Services Card) from your home province or territory.

As long as you remain enrolled and eligible for the FNHA Health Benefits Program, the program will provide coverage for:

  • BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)
  • Ambulance invoices
  • Pharmacy
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Medical transportation
  • Mental health crisis intervention (short-term)

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for Health Benefits, individuals must be:

  • A registered "Indian" as defined by the Indian Act, or the infant of an eligible parent, and
  • A resident of British Columbia

If you’re already covered by another third-party health insurance provided by the federal government, or by a First Nations organization as part of a funding agreement, you are not eligible for Health Benefits.

Check your eligibility

How to enrol

If you’d like to confirm whether you’re enrolled in the Health Benefits, or you’d like to register for the first time, please have your status number ready and call 1 855 550 5454.

See enrolment instructions for the Health Benefits. 

Extended health insurance

Non-insured health benefits for Status Natives and Inuits are provided by the federal government, under Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. In British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority is responsible for administering non-insured benefits and items for eligible clients.

The FNHA does not pay extra charges above the amount paid or payable by the Medical Services Plan of BC nor reimburse clients who have paid extra billing charges. If clients receive bills from a doctor or hospital which may be an “extra billing” charge, the doctor or hospital should be asked to provide an explanation of the expense in writing.

The non-insured benefits cover certain medical supplies. All medical equipment require prior approval. 

For a full list of exclusions under the FNHA Health Benefits Program, see the FNHA Health Benefits Information Package (pdf).

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

As a UBC student, you are automatically enrolled in the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan when you register for classes.

Indigenous students who receive health and dental benefits from Health Canada or the First Nations Health Authority may choose to opt out of the AMS/GSS plan at the start of the term. You may use your status card as proof of other coverage.

BC PharmaCare

If you’re a resident of British Columbia, the BC PharmaCare program helps pay for the cost of certain prescription drugs, pharmacy services, and medical supplies. 

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 BC Pharmacare to cover more expensive prescriptions for chronic health conditions that are not covered by the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan.

See program details