This page contains important information about healthcare and medical insurance in Canada, including:
- information on the basic health insurance that is legally required in BC and Canada (MSP);
- how to register for MSP;
- information on UBC’s extended health benefits (AMS Health & Dental Plan); and
- how to opt out of the AMS Health & Dental Plan if you have extended coverage elsewhere.
Need to Opt Out of Extended Coverage?
Use the button below to stay on top of important deadlines regarding the AMS Health & Dental Plan Change of Coverage period.AMS Change of Coverage Period
FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
All students coming to Canada are legally required to have medical insurance. Hospital expenses in Canada can easily reach thousands of dollars in a very short period of time. In fact, a major illness would leave the average student with virtually unpayable debts.
Health insurance in BC consists of a combination of public, private, and extended health insurance.
Medical Services Plan (MSP): Basic Health Insurance
The government of British Columbia provides a Medical Services Plan (MSP) to all BC residents. All residents of BC are required by law to enroll themselves and their dependents with MSP.
What does it cover?
MSP covers basic medically-required services provided by physicians and supplementary health care practitioners, laboratory services, diagnostic procedures, and hospitalization.
How do I enroll?
You can apply for MSP either online or by mail.
When you apply you will be asked to upload or send copies of the documents that support the name and Canadian citizenship or immigration status for all persons (e.g. your study permit and/or your spouse's work permit).
If you need assistance, please contact the Associate Dean of Students: [email protected]
How much does it cost?
To calculate the cost of MSP monthly premium rates, please refer to this page of the Government of BC website.
When do benefits begin?
New residents to BC are only eligible for MSP benefits after a waiting period. This waiting period includes the month in which you submit your MSP application, plus two months. For example, if you submit your MSP application in the month of September (whether September 1 or 30 or anywhere in between), your waiting period will be September, October, and November, and your MSP coverage will begin in the month of December. It is therefore mandatory that students have coverage for this waiting period. Information about this is below.
Can I maintain medical insurance from my home province?
Canadian students who do not intend to settle permanently in BC may be able to maintain hospital and medical coverage in their home province for the duration of their studies. Each province has different requirements for maintaining health insurance. Make sure to contact the insurance provider in your home province for details.
David Cummings Insurance: Private Health Insurance for MSP waiting period
During this interim 3 month waiting period, it is mandatory that students have private medical coverage. Some students extend their travel insurance for an extra 2-3 months or private insurance is available through the following local insurance company: David Cummings Insurance Services, Ltd.
AMS Health and Dental Plan: Extended Health Insurance
If you’re registered in 3 or more on-campus credits in the Fall or Winter Terms, you are automatically enrolled in the AMS Health & Dental Plan when you pay your student fees. For students starting in the Fall Term, your student fees and tuition give you coverage through the AMS Health & Dental Plan for a full year, until Aug 31. For students starting in Winter Term, your student fees and tuition give you coverage through the AMS Health & Dental Plan for eight months, until Aug 31.
The AMS Health & Dental Plan covers expenses not covered by basic health care plans, such as British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan (MSP), equivalent provincial health care plans, and private basic plans. It covers a range of prescription drugs, dental care, psychologist visits, travel health coverage, vision care, and much more.
See below to learn more about:
- Opting your family into the AMS Health & Dental Plan;
- Who is eligible to opt out of the AMS Health & Dental Plan;
- How to opt out;
- and more.
- are a students who already has equivalent extended health and dental insurance through your employer or spouse;
- are an American student who commutes from Washington State; or
- are a students currently studying online from another country.
To speak to someone about your plan you visit studentcare.ca or head to the Student Care office located in the UBC Nest (Office 3127).
What does it cover?
This insurance covers dental work, prescription drugs, psychologist visits, physiotherapy, travel insurance, and other services not covered through MSP. For details, please refer to Your Plan at a Glance on their website.
Please note: the AMS Health and Dental plan cannot be used as interim basic health insurance during the three-month MSP waiting period.
How do I enroll?
Students who register in 3 or more on-campus credits in the Fall or Winter terms are automatically enrolled in the plan.
Students who are taking 3 or more audit hours can opt in to the plan by paying student fees. You can opt in to student fees when you register for your courses. There is a very limited time period for opting in or out of this plan at the beginning of each term.
How much does it cost?
The cost for AMS Health and Dental Plan can be found on our Costs page.
When do the benefits begin?
Benefits are retroactive to the first day of the month in which your coverage begins: September for students who start in the Fall Term and January for students who start in the Winter Term. Confirmation of coverage takes 6+ weeks. During this time, if you submit a claim, it may be returned. You will need to resubmit this claim once your coverage is confirmed.
How do I claim?
When you visit a health practitioner, you will need to show them your UBC Student Card and give them your Group Number: 43979 (Health & Dental Benefits and Travel Benefits). You can also download a Pay-Direct Card for Prescription Medication.
Claims may also be submitted online here. Your policy number is 43979 and your ID number is your UBC student number (found on your UBC Card).
Can I opt my family in?
Yes! Families of students (spouses and children) can opt in to the plan. To enroll your family, follow these instructions. You must heed the application deadlines outlined on this page of the AMS Health & Dental Plan website.
Please note that you will need to take proof that you have been assessed at Regent to the Health and Dental Plan Office at the AMS Nest at UBC (Office 3128) in order to enrol your family.
Can I opt out?
You are eligible to opt out of the AMS Health & Dental Plan if you:
You can opt out online by following these detailed instructions on the AMS Health Plan site.
Please contact [email protected] if you need help navigating this process.
There is a very limited time period for opting out of this plan at the beginning of each term. If you opt out, this fee will still remain on your student account at Regent until opt-outs have been confirmed from UBC's Plan Office partway through the term.
2022/2023 Opt Out Periods
Students starting in the 2022 Fall Term must submit an application to opt out of the AMS Health & Dental Plan between Aug 22–Sep 28, 2022.
Students starting in the 2023 Winter Term must submit an application to change and opt out of the AMS Health & Dental Plan between Jan 3–27, 2023.
For full details and to confirm the dates of opt-in and opt-out periods, please visit the AMS Health Plan site.
There are many fine medical doctors and hospitals in Vancouver as well as a wide range of alternative medical practices. You can ask fellow students or the Assistant Dean of Students for recommendations for medical doctors, dentists, etc.