iMED: Temporary health insurance for international students

About iMED

The iMED program is a temporary basic health insurance plan required as a condition of registering as an international student who is new to UBC. iMED provides you with basic health insurance during the three-month waiting period before you qualify for the British Columbia-government run Medical Services Plan (MSP), or for the duration of your study term if you are a one-term exchange student or a VIRS student. The provider is David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS), located in Vancouver.

See health insurance for international students to learn about the differences between iMED, MSP, and the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan.

Who is eligible and how do I apply?

All new international students who are assessed AMS/GSS student fees are automatically enrolled in iMED when you register for your first course. Check your Student Service Centre (SSC) account to confirm you are charged for iMED. If you are charged, you are covered. If you do not see the fee listed in your financial summary, contact International Student Advising

If you started your program in 2020/21 Winter Session or 2021 Summer Session (September 2020 to August 2021), in order to have insurance coverage through iMED, you must confirm your arrival date starting from 3 weeks before you travel (see information below). 

If you already have BC MSP or another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan, or your studies are being funded by a third party organization, you can see instructions below for how to opt out of iMED.

Who is not eligible for iMED? 

Returning UBC international students who previously had iMED coverage, students who are not assessed AMS/GSS student  fees, and domestic students are not eligible for iMED. You should purchase private temporary insurance, such as the Global Campus Health Plan (GCHP). 

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. You will be covered even if you have not paid your fees yet.

  • If you began studies in 2020/21 Winter Session or 2021 Summer Session, you will need to confirm your arrival date using the instructions below.
  • One-term exchange students and VIRS students are covered for the entire duration of their program of studies.
  • All other new international students starting in 2021/22 Winter Session 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 British Columbia 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 your home country or primary place of residence (if your travel itinerary to Canada is ten days or less and your arrival date is not earlier than the start date of your iMED coverage) 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

If you started in the 2020 Summer Session (May to August 2020)

If you studied in Canada

Ensure you were assessed iMED fees by checking your UBC tuition account and your email for your iMED card.

If your coverage period did not match your first 3 months in Canada, you needed to request an iMED date change, or advanced coverage.

If you studied online outside of Canada or changed your program start date

You may have needed to take action since your iMED coverage was based on starting your program in Canada in May.

If you deferred your program and withdrew from all the courses in which you registered for the summer before the add/drop deadline, your iMED fees were automatically removed. When you register in the future, you will automatically be enrolled again.

You would have needed to request changes if you were:

  • Starting your program online outside of Canada and you wanted your iMED fee moved to a future term or
  • Deferring your program after the add/drop deadline and you wanted your iMED fee removed or
  • Studying outside of Canada as a one-term exchange student or a VIRS student and wanted your iMED fee removed

The deadline for all change requests was July 31, 2020. If you missed the deadline you will need to purchase private temporary insurance for your first 3 months in BC, such as the Global Campus Health Plan

If you started in 2020/21 Winter Session to 2021 Summer Session (September 2020 to August 2021)

If you started your studies in 2020/21 Winter Session or 2021 Summer Session, when you registered for courses, UBC automatically enrolled you for the iMED temporary private health insurance if you have not previously studied at UBC.

Make sure you've been charged for iMED fees by checking your account through the Student Services Centre (SSC).

You are also automatically enrolled in the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan, which you can only use in Canada. Learn about opting out if you will be outside of Canada.

If you will study in Canada

You should have received an email from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) with information related to your iMED health insurance and a request for you to confirm your arrival date in Canada. You must confirm your arrival date with DCIS by following the instructions provided in the email. This applies to you whether you started your program in Canada or if you started your program online outside of Canada and will travel at a later date.

If you do not know when you will arrive in Canada, this is not a problem. You do not need to take action until 3 weeks before or after your arrival, and can travel until July 31, 2022.

We recommend that you confirm your arrival date before you travel by submitting an iMED arrival date confirmation form and providing your scanned flight tickets to DCIS starting from 3 weeks before your arrival date.

You can also confirm your arrival with DCIS up to 3 weeks after you’ve arrived in Canada by providing your scanned flight tickets, boarding pass(es), study permit, passport stamp, or landing documents. 

Once you confirm your arrival with DCIS, you will receive your iMED card by email. If you don’t receive your iMED card, please email DCIS at imed@david-cummings.com.

Confirm the iMED coverage period on your iMED card is correct. iMED coverage should start from the month you arrive in British Columbia plus two months to cover the BC MSP waiting period, or cover the full duration of your program of studies if you are a one-term student.

If your arrival plans change, you can request an adjustment of your iMED coverage period. Email DCIS immediately to inform them your plans have changed so your coverage can be cancelled. Once you know your new arrival date, submit an updated iMED arrival date confirmation form online through DCIS website before July 31, 2022. You will receive a new iMED card by email with a new coverage period.

Use the iMED Checklist to stay on track of your iMED enrolment status.

If you will complete your full program online outside of Canada

If you will complete your full program online outside of Canada and will not travel to Canada, you might qualify to opt-out from iMED and have your iMED fees refunded (see information below). 

Timeline to apply to opt out from iMED:

Students starting in Winter Term 1 2020 can opt out of iMED: 

  • One-term programs: December 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021
  • Eight-month (one academic year) programs: April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021
  • Twelve-month programs: June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021
  • Thirteen-month or longer programs: December 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022

Students starting in Winter Term 2 2020 can opt out of iMED:

  • One-term programs: April 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021
  • Eight-month (one academic year) programs: June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021
  • Twelve-month programs: December 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022
  • Thirteen-month or longer programs: April 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022

Students starting in Summer Session 2021 can opt out of iMED:

  • One-term programs: July 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021
  • Eight-month (one academic year) programs: December 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022
  • Twelve-month programs: April 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022

You will need to fill and submit the UBC iMED Self Declaration Form to isa@students.ubc.ca.

If you will change your program start date

If you defer your program and withdraw from all courses in which you registered for Winter Term 1 before the add/drop deadline, your iMED fees will automatically be removed. When you register in the future, you will automatically be enrolled in iMED again.

Visiting International Research Students (VIRS)

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

One-term exchange students

One-term exchange students are covered as follows:

  • Winter Session Term 1 (September – December 2021): August 30, 2021 – January 2, 2022
  • Winter Session Term 2 (January – April 2022): December 25, 2021 – April 29, 2022

One-term exchange students are students who have been approved by Go Global to study at UBC on an exchange program.

Changing your iMED coverage dates

If you arrive in BC before your iMED coverage start date

For example, if your coverage starts August 1 but you will travel in July, you may purchase “Advance Coverage” from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS), using the Advance Coverage Application Form

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.

If you arrive in BC later than the calendar month in which your iMED starts

Degree-seeking and two-term exchange students

For example, if your iMED starts August 1, but you will travel in September, then you must submit the date change form to 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. 

One-term exchange students

Your iMED coverage dates are fixed and cannot be changed.

How much does iMED cost?

iMED costs $225 for the first three months, or $315 if you are a one-term exchange student (effective September 1, 2020). You are also charged a one-time $10.14 direct billing fee (effective May 1, 2021) so you do not have to pay up-front at local emergency rooms.

What if I withdraw from UBC or defer? 

If you defer your program and withdraw from all courses in which you registered before the add/drop deadline, your iMED fees will automatically be removed. View your “Financial Summary” under Finances in your Student Service Centre (SSC) to verify that your iMED fee has been removed from your account.

When you register in the future, you will automatically be enrolled in iMED again.

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). If after that date you withdraw from UBC or defer to the next term after that date, the iMED fee will not be removed and you will be required to pay for it. 

How do I get my iMED card?

After you register for courses, or if you started in 2020 Winter Session to 2021 Summer Session (online or in-person), after you have confirmed your arrival in Canada, David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) will email your iMED card to the email address you provided to UBC when registering for your first class.

Check your inbox and junk-mail folders. Print your iMED card and keep it with you at all times. If you don’t receive your iMED card, please email DCIS at imed@david-cummings.com.

Front and back sample of iMED card

How do I use my iMED insurance?

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.

With your iMED card, you don’t have to pay for your visit if you see a doctor at UBC Student Health Service, the University Village Medical and Dental Clinics, or the UBC Physical Therapy & Research Clinic 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. Your iMED card is recognized for direct billing at emergency facilities and the following medical clinics and pharmacies.

On-campus

Off-campus

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 for health services covered by iMED.

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 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, BC MSP or by another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan before the iMED coverage start date (August 1 for Winter Term 1 and December 1 for Winter Term 2)

  • 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

If you're already covered by iMED, BC MSP, or another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan

You can apply to opt-out of iMED using the DCIS Opt-Out Form online or by faxing it along with supporting documents to DCIS at 604 228 9807

If you're being funded by a third party

Download the UBC iMED Opt Out Form (pdf) and send the completed form with supporting documents through the International Student Advising online form.

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

Participating in the Western Deans Agreement alone does not qualify you to opt-out from iMED.

Deadline to apply to opt-out from iMED

Opt-out applications must be received by the add/drop date as per the UBC Academic Calendar.

If you started your program in 2020 Winter Session to 2021 Summer Session, see the above 'when am I covered' section for opt-out deadlines. 

Conditions to opt out from iMED

Students who have a claim made or pending on their iMED policy are not eligible to opt out from iMED.

Students who have enrolled dependents onto their iMED plan are not eligible to opt out from iMED.

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.

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 advance coverage. 

Health and wellbeing resources

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International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC's Vancouver campus.

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