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Canada

Student Health Insurance 2023 in Canada

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Although Canada is known for offering free health care, the majority of these services are only available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Therefore, all international students studying in Canada are required to obtain health insurance for the duration of their studies.

The health care system in Canada differs from province to province. Foreign nationals who wish to study in Canada should familiarize themselves with the health care options available in their chosen province. International students are covered by government health insurance programs in some provinces, but the majority of provinces require students to enroll in private health insurance plans.

Many provinces that require international students to enroll in private health insurance also offer health insurance packages to international students. In some situations, educational institutions will require students to enroll in their health insurance plans, while in others, students may opt out of their health insurance plans if they can prove that they have private health insurance from another source.

All educational institutions are aware of the health insurance needs of international students, regardless of the situation.

Health Care in Canada :

Without having to pay out of pocket, all Canadian citizens and permanent residents have adequate access to medically necessary hospital care. While universal health care is legislated at the federal level, the provinces and territories operate health care programs, so the details of coverage vary depending on where you live. All Canadians have access to universal health care, which covers only medically essential services; this is called basic health care coverage.

People who are not permanent residents or citizens of Canada can expect to pay out-of-pocket for medical services unless they have private health insurance. In fact, many immigration programs require temporary residents to obtain private health insurance for the duration of their stay in Canada. There are several options available to temporary residents in this regard:

  • An insurance company can provide them with private insurance.
  • If they work in Canada, they may be covered by their employer’s health insurance.
  • They can sign up for insurance through their school if they are studying in Canada.

Even if a patient does not have a government health card, all provinces and territories offer free emergency services. However, depending on a person’s immigration status, there may be considered limitations on the services that can be provided.

Student Health Care Services, Province by Province:

Here are some examples of provincial health insurance:

Alberta:

International students studying in Alberta for at least six months are normally covered by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).

It is important to note that Alberta Health Care only covers basic medical expenses and excludes dental care and prescription drugs. If an international student is not eligible for AHCIP, they must purchase a private plan through an insurance company or agent.

British Columbia:

If you plan to study for at least six months in British Columbia, you are eligible for the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP). Once you arrive in BC, you must apply for MSP. However, MSP applications take about three months to process and students can only apply once they arrive in Canada.

IMED provides basic health insurance while you wait three months to qualify for BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP).

International students can purchase supplemental health insurance to enhance basic MSP coverage. Many schools offer supplemental health insurance packages to their students, and some even require students to purchase these plans.

If a student is not eligible for MSP, they will need to pay for private health insurance for the duration of their stay.

Ontario:

Since international students in Nova Scotia are not eligible for the public health care program, they must purchase their own health insurance. Many educational institutions in Nova Scotia offer health care programs, and some require international students to enroll. Although international students are not eligible for public health insurance in Nova Scotia, anyone who has been legally resident in the province for at least 12 months is eligible.

Nova Scotia:

Since international students in Nova Scotia are not eligible for the public health care program, they must purchase their own health insurance. Many educational institutions in Nova Scotia offer health care programs, and some require international students to enroll. Although international students are not eligible for public health insurance in Nova Scotia, anyone who has been legally resident in the province for at least 12 months is eligible.

This plan costs approximately $650 for one year of coverage.

Students may be eligible for a Nova Scotia Health Card after the first year, which provides free basic medical coverage through Medical Services Insurance (MSI). International students may be able to opt-out of any health care package offered by their educational institution after obtaining a provincial health card.

Medical insurance for people living outside the province:

Provincial health coverage, whether provided free of charge by the government or purchased through a private plan, can only cover health expenses incurred within that province. International students who wish to travel outside their province of study, whether to another province in Canada or to another country, should check with their health insurance provider to see if they will be covered. If international students’ health insurance does not cover them when they travel, they can purchase private health insurance to cover their medical bills.

Alternatives to Medical Care:

International students who want to learn more about the private insurance choices available in Canada can use the following tools and resources:

Find Insurance is a public service tool run by OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance that lists 99% of the insurance programs offered by Canadian life and health insurance companies.

The OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance (OLHI) is Canada’s impartial information service for life and health insurance consumers. It also serves as an independent dispute resolution service for insurance customers.

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