Health insurance for Indigenous students

Insurance for British Columbia (BC) residents studying in BC

As a student at UBC, you are required to have basic medical insurance and extended health care insurance so that you have health coverage when you need it. The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) covers the basic BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) and other extended health insurance coverage for Indigenous students.

If you’re not currently enrolled, you can read the FNHA Health Benefits eligibility and enrolment details. When enrolled, the cost of the MSP premium is paid directly by the FNHA Health Benefits program.

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

MSP covers regular doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, some lab and x-ray services, and surgery performed in a hospital. You can use your Care Card when accessing these health services.

In addition to covering your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) as your basic health insurance, FNHA Health Benefits Program provides full or partial coverage your extended health needs outlined below:

  • BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) basic health insurance
  • Ambulance invoices (trips in an ambulance to go to the hospital)
  • Pharmacy (prescription medication)
  • Vision (eye exams, glasses and contact lenses)
  • Dental  (yearly dental visits and teeth cleaning)
  • Medical supplies and equipment (crutches, walking boot, supplies after surgery)
  • Medical transportation
  • Mental health support (Psychologist or counsellor visits)

FNHA Health Benefits does not include coverage for physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, naturopathy, or other paramedical or supplementary services.

Confirming Health Benefits enrolment

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 1-855-550-5​​454 or email healthbenefits@fnha.ca.

Information for out-of-province students studying in British Columbia

If you’re a student arriving from a Canadian province or territory outside of British Columbia, there are certain steps you’ll need to take: 

  • Make sure you have your status number, date of birth, school start date and expected graduation date ready.
  • Call the BC First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Eligibility Team at 1-855-550-5454.
  • You will need to advise providers, such as pharmacists, dentists, eye doctors, that you are an out-of-province resident. Providers will need to access benefits through Health Canada for services.
  • You must contact the health services plan from your respective province or territory to ensure that you have active health services while studying in British Columbia (BC). You are not eligible for BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) in British Columbia as you are not a BC resident.

What the First Nations Health Authority will do

Once you call the BC First Nations Health Authority Eligibility team, they will advise Indigenous Services Canada that you are an out-of-province resident studying in BC. 

FNHA will request that you are added to the Non-Insured Health Benefits Safelist (NIHB). The NIHB Safelist will enable you to claim services in British Columbia with no issues.

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Coverage at UBC

All UBC students are assessed the AMS/GSS Health and Dental fee every academic year automatically, when they register for courses. This includes all Indigenous students. The total fee of the plan is $264.63 per student for 12 months of coverage from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. New students beginning in January 2022 pay a prorated fee of $176.42 for coverage from January 1 to August 31, 2022.

Get coverage details

Opting out of the fee

Some students have extended health coverage through other plans, and therefore choose to opt-out of the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan. If you choose to do so, remember to opt out online by September 29, 2021. You are required to do this every year at the start of term. You may use your status card as proof of other coverage during the opt-out process. 

If you are a sponsored student covered by your band for tuition and living expenses, it’s likely that they won’t cover this additional health coverage fee for you. Please connect with your Education Coordinator through your band regarding potential coverage for this fee. If they don’t cover it, please opt out or be prepared to cover this fee yourself.

Change of Coverage period for 2021/22: August 23 to September 29, 2021

If you’ve missed the deadline to opt-out, please contact the Indigenous Student Support team at es.indigenous@ubc.ca.

Staying enroled on the plan

Depending on your health and dental needs and costs, you may decide that it could be worthwhile to have coverage through both your Indigenous Health Authority and the AMS/GSS Health and Dental plan, and then you can have reimbursements of health costs from both insurance providers. 

Examples situations where you may want to be covered for both plans:

  • You need prescription glasses or contacts.
  • You often get medical prescriptions.
  • You have ongoing health concerns.
  • You want to maximize chiropractor, physiotherapist, or massage therapy benefits.
  • You have dental concerns.
  • You are planning to travel or go on exchange.

Maximizing your coverage

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your extended health care coverage, consider asking your provider (e.g., doctor, dentist, optometrist): 

  • Are you registered with Pacific Blue Cross, PharmaCare or FNHA direct billing?
  • Do you require payment upfront for services?

If you have more than one health insurance

When students have access to another third-party health insurance (e.g., AMS/GSS Health and Dental coverage), they should submit claims to that plan first and then to FNHA Health Benefits. One exception is the pharmacy benefit, where clients should submit claims to PharmaCare first.

If you have questions