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Health Insurance in Canada

No one intends to become ill while traveling or studying abroad, but the wise traveler plans ahead. It is best to completely understand the health care system of whatever country you’re in; Canada’s health care system is no exception.

All international students who study in Canada are required to have health insurance. Medical coverage available to international students varies from province to province, In provinces in which international students are not covered under provincial health care plans, you will have to make arrangements for private health insurance coverage.

Provincial Health Care

The provincial health care system in Canada covers basic and preventive medical services, as well as emergency care. As an international student with a valid study visa, you should be eligible for a provincial health care card so that you may access these services.

Applying for and Using Your Insurance Card

  • You can get an application form at a doctor’s office, a hospital, pharmacy, or online.
  • You will need identification when applying for a card. Acceptable ID includes birth certificate, passport, confirmation of permanent residence (IMM 5292), or permanent resident card.
  • For medicare treatment of any kind, you need to show your health insurance card.
  • You must present it at a hospital or clinic when you or someone in your family requires treatment.
  • Remember: you must not share your health insurance card with anyone else. Your card is for your use only, and you could lose the benefits it provides if you let other people use it. You could also face criminal charges and be removed from Canada.
  • If you lose the card, you might have to pay a fee to replace it.

However, there are many medical services that are not covered by the Canadian provincial health care system. These services include dental care, vision care, prescription medications, and some diagnostic testing services.

Additionally, some services such as hospitalization are only partially covered by the provincial health care system. Without additional medical insurance, even a brief hospital stay can cost you thousands of dollars. Some hospitals refuse to admit new patients without proof of private health insurance coverage in Canada.

Private Health Insurance

All in all, 30% of all health expenditure in Canada is private—either from private health insurance or out of pocket. This is slightly above average for OECD member countries.

The medical care offered by your province or territory might not be covered in other provinces and territories. For this reason, you may require private health insurance if you plan to travel.

Private health insurance is also available for services that may not be covered under your province or territory’s health insurance plan. These services generally include prescription drugs, dental costs, private hospital rooms, ambulance services, and prescription glasses. Some provinces’ plans also exclude arguably “marginal” operations such as IVF treatment.

As an international student studying in Canada, it is advisable that you purchase private health insurance before your trip, to make sure you are covered in all cases.

Best Insurance Plans for Canada

We have a range of insurance plans, however for students studying in Canada the best insurance options are: