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What is Health Insurance?


What is Health Insurance?

Health insurance is insurance coverage that typically pays for medical bills, doctors visits, some prescription drugs and sometimes dental expenses incurred by the insured. If you are planning to study in Canada, you should think about getting international student health insurance coverage for yourself. It is essential that you have a health insurance plan for the duration of your program.

While Canada is well known throughout the world for its free healthcare system, it does not have health insurance coverage for all international students attending school in Canada.

International students who plan to study in Canada should get acquainted with the kind of health care that is obtainable in his proposed province of study since health care plan in the country varies from province to province. While few provinces cover international students under provincial health insurance plans, the majority of other provinces require that students get registered for private health insurance plans.

However, some institutions still demand that students registers with schools’ health insurance plan, others make it optional and students may even decide to decline to register as long as they have a health insurance plan.

Normally, the insurance plan will offer flexibility and freedom, covering all medical needs, emergency health needs, surgery, and other expensive in-patients treatment. Medical evacuation, rehabilitation treatment, and hospital accommodation are also covered in many health insurance packages.

Why Do I Need Health Insurance as International Student?

It’s of great necessity that international students get a health insurance plan. You will agree that studying abroad can be fun and rewarding especially when you are out of the confines of your home, away from your parent; you become your own boss, meet with new friends, learn new languages and culture, explore your new environment and do whatever fascinates your interest.

But traveling and even living in a foreign country also poses unprecedented challenges- from a simple change of weather to an unexpected stomach upset due to a change of diet or even to a more grave danger like having a fatal accident or unexpected injury can get you to the hospital. You need health insurance coverage to take care of all these medical emergencies.If you are a landed permanent immigrant in Canada, consider checking out our article on Newcomers Insurance plan instead.

Benefits of International Student Health Insurance

There are several benefits for securing international student health insurance. Securing good health care coverage saves you from paying those high hospital bills for a long time. Also, the amount you pay is nothing compared to what you would have to pay if you did not have health insurance coverage.

For example, according to Canadian Magnetic Imagining, an MRI scan alone could cost you anywhere around $900 CAD and $2,400 CAD. If you have good health coverage, you will be paying far lesser. International student health insurance often covers pre-existing injuries, sports, injuries, mental health, maternity expenses, hospitalization, and prescriptions.

Students get to enjoy lower premiums compared to older folks since they are generally young and healthy. You get to enjoy more affordable plans. Plus the payment of these premiums can be broken down and paid throughout the duration of your stay.

How Much Is Student Health Insurance in Canada?

Most provinces have free health insurance coverage for International students studying in Canada. Students or visitors who are not covered by free healthcare plans must have health insurance as been made compulsory by Canadian post-secondary schools. Health insurance in Canada for international students varies from province to province or location to location, and it also depends upon the insurance firm.

In line with Canada Insurance Plan, the average yearly premium for accessing health insurance ranges from $600 CAD to $900 CAD. Some of the insurance service providers/companies that foreign students and visitors could approach for health insurance are:

  • Manulife Financial;
  • TuGo;
  • Sun Life;
  • Ingle International;
  • Cowan Insurance Group;
  • Greenshield.
  • Allianz Global;

The insurance packages from these companies include some common benefits (however, the limit of each benefit varies from plan to plan) such as:

  • Physician charges;
  • Private nurse;
  • Trauma counseling;
  • Medical appliances;
  • Treatment of dental accident;
  • Prescription drugs;
  • Paramedical services;
  • Diagnostic services;
  • Psychiatric treatment.
  • Hospital expenses and accommodation;

How to Apply for Student Health Insurance in Canada?

The rules and regulations for health insurance in Canada vary from one province to province. Some Canadian provinces provide health insurance coverage to foreign students as well.

If you have obtained admission to a university or college domiciled in any of these provinces, you need to apply for health insurance by checking the said province’s website, filling and completing an application form, and purchasing the premium amount.

On the other hand, if a province does not provide health insurance coverage for students, you may have to take an overseas health insurance plan from a private firm, before leaving for Canada.

In this case, you will need to reach out to an insurance firm, choose the plan or package that suits your requirements, fill a detailed application form, go through a medical test, and pay the premium amount.

Top 5 Schools that offer student health insurance in Canada

If you are interested in studying in Canada, there are some post-secondary schools that offer a variety of healthcare plans. Below are some schools in Canada that offer special health coverages to their students.

#1. McGill International Student Health Insurance

Mcgill university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is a public university that is well known for its outstanding contribution in the area of scientific research.

McGill is one of the schools on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. The university requires all foreign students and their accompanying dependents to avail themselves in the compulsory McGill International Health Insurance (IHI) coverage which is organized and administered by International Student Services.

In Mcgill, All foreign Students are automatically charged the annual IHI fee ($1128) upon registration at the university in the fall and winter semester.

#2. UBC student health insurance

The University of British strongly recommends that all international students have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their programs. The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the provincial government program that provides basic health care.

Everyone living in British Columbia province for more than six months is required to enroll in this program, except students with existing health coverage from another province or territory in Canada.

If you come to the province without coverage under MSP or another provincial health plan and will be there for six months or longer, you should enroll for MSP immediately upon your arrival. As there is a three-month processing period before MSP coverage will start, you must make sure you have basic health insurance for those first three months in British Columbia province.

#3. Saskatchewan university student health insurance

The University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union partnered with the health and dental insurance provider Studentcare to offer undergraduate and graduate international students health and dental insurance coverage. Some undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the plan, while others need to apply.

If you are automatically covered, the cost of the plan is part of your tuition fees. See if you are automatically covered by checking your tuition statements or by visiting www.studentcare.ca.

#4. BCIT Student health insurance

Basic medical insurance coverage is compulsory for all international students throughout the duration of their program at BCIT. Students are required to purchase private medical coverage provided by Guard.me. The school does not accept insurance from companies outside of Canada.

#5. Seneca college international student health insurance

As an international student enrolled in a full-time program at Seneca college, you have mandatory health insurance included in your tuition fees. You will be automatically included in the health insurance plan depending on your program start date.

You are expected to pay any outstanding balance at the beginning of your semester. Your health insurance includes services such as hospital and doctor services in Ontario, eye examinations, diagnostic laboratory and x-ray services, emergency services, and dental care in the hospital. The coverage also provides for doctor’s services and hospital ward accommodation.

The coverage includes prescribed drugs, paramedical services such as psychologists, physiotherapists, and more. Limited emergency out-of-country coverage and out-of-province are also included in this plan.



  1. Daniel Okoronkwo

    December 22, 2023 at 9:53 am

    Can one renew his insurance card online

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