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Health Insurance in Canada – Get the Right Coverage

Health Insurance in Canada – Get the Right Coverage


As an international student travelling to Canada, you’ll need medical insurance. This protects you from paying high fees for medical care while you’re in Canada! Below find out all about health insurance in Canada, and what you need to consider before studying abroad here.

Duration of your stay in Canada

The length of your stay in Canada is the key to understanding what insurance you’ll need to get! An important consideration when choosing insurance plans is understanding how the length of your stay in Canada affects your insurance options. For provinces that do offer coverage to an international student, there’s a minimum length of time they must be in Canada in order to be eligible. In British Columbia, students must have a minimum 6-month study permit in order to get provincial medical coverage.

General information

In Canada, health insurance is paid through taxes issued out by the government. This insurance covers a lot of basic medical services that you may need. This is a great program as it reduces the cost to otherwise very expensive medical care.

But, this general insurance doesn’t cover everything. You may need additional insurance for prescription pills, glasses, ambulance service, physiotherapy, and eyeglasses.

Provincial insurance

In Canada, the insurance systems are different in each province. Be sure you’re up to date on how to get insurance coverage where you live! Check the links below to learn more about your specific province. Every province has a different insurance system, and this system can change over time. For example, BC uses MSP and they are about to undergo a fee change effective January 2020.

Getting your health card

If you’re eligible for provincial insurance cover, you’ll need to get a health card. To do this, you can get an application form from a doctor’s office, pharmacy, online or at the hospital. When you apply for the card you will need to show an acceptable piece of ID. Acceptable ID includes a passport, birth certificate or a permanent residence ID. Once you have your card, remember to bring it with you to every medical appointment or treatment you go to. Finally, once you have the card be sure to keep your number secret from others and don’t lose it! If you lose it, you’ll need to pay a fee to get it replaced.

Private insurance

International students might need to purchase private health insurance coverage if they plan to travel outside the province they are living in. Additionally, they should purchase this type of insurance if their provincial plan doesn’t cover a service they require. This includes prescription medicines, dental work, or private hospital rooms for example.

Choosing the right insurance

It may seem like quite the challenge to choose the correct insurance for you. If you’re studying in a college or a university, there’s a good chance you’ll already be paying for insurance as a part of your student fees. You may also be eligible for the provincial insurance in your province. However, these insurance plans don’t cover everything. So you might need to purchase additional insurance depending on your medical needs. If you want additional insurance, try to find a private insurance policy or company that is going to cover everything you think you may need – this could be any of the following.

  • Prescription medicines
  • Dental work
  • Ambulance transport
  • Travel vaccines
  • Cosmetic surgery

Be sure to check out the insurance plans of several different companies before making a choice! You can find a list of these private insurance companies here.

Insurance is very important to your wellbeing as an international student in Canada. So, be sure you understand all the facts before coming to Canada so you don’t end up in a bad situation. Health insurance in Canada is a combination of both public and private, and depending on your province, stay, budget and personal needs you may need both!

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