Canada’s healthcare system is recognized as one of the best in the world. However, access to immediate and proper medical care in Canada is typically reserved for its citizens and permanent residents only.
It is only reasonable for international students to arrange their own health insurance to get covered for the duration of their stay in Canada. But getting health insurance can be a bit confusing since Canada’s healthcare system varies from province to province.
Here’s a quick guide on how to get health insurance as an international student in Canada:
Province-Based Health Insurance
Each province in Canada has its own provincial health insurance plans and depending on which province you’ll be studying in, you might be covered with this insurance regardless of your citizenship or permanent resident status.
In most provinces, international students are required to obtain their own health insurance. Fortunately, some institutions within these provinces offer health insurance packages to their students, including non-Canadian students from abroad.
Your institution may require you to get a health insurance plan even before you can apply under their program. Make sure to check these requirements, and don’t forget to inquire if you’re covered under provincial health insurance plans.
Coverage of Provincial Health Insurance
Whether you’re covered under a provincial health insurance plan, or arranged your own through a private provider, it is necessary to check if your insurance package still covers you even if you’re outside the province.
International students like to explore different places in Canada, sometimes even traveling out of the province they’re staying in. This makes it an important question to ask since you want to make sure that you still have access to medical benefits in an event of a medical emergency that occurred outside of the province.
Applying for a Provincial Health Card
As long as you possess a valid study permit, you are eligible to apply for provincial health insurance (if the province you’re staying in covers international students).
Here are the steps in applying for a provincial health insurance plan:
- Complete the application form (Available online, at a hospital, or a doctor’s clinic)
- Present proof of identity (Identification Card, birth certificate, valid passport, etc.)
- If you have permanent residence status in Canada, present confirmation or permanent resident card
How to Use Your Insurance Card
If you have a medical concern that requires immediate attention, you need to follow the steps below to use the benefits of your insurance plan:
- Present insurance card at the hospital or clinic (For any kind of medical concern listed on the terms and coverage of your plan).
- If you have a family member with you in Canada, you can present your insurance card if you listed them as a beneficiary of your health insurance plan.
- Don’t let anyone other than you and your beneficiary use your card. Breaking the terms and conditions of your insurance plan may void your benefits.
- Don’t lose your insurance card. Replacing an insurance card would cost you a certain fee (Depending on your insurance provider).
Where to Find Health Insurance Plans
- Find Insurance – Provides a list of Canadian health insurance and insurance providers.
- OmbuService for Life and Health Insurance – Canada’s information center for Canada Life and Health Insurance customers.
Canada is one of the most student-friendly countries in the world. Read more articles on Canada’s healthcare offers for international students here at MSM Unify.