Accidents and unexpected illness can occur at any time, and having insurance coverage is the best way to protect yourself and your family. International students are strongly advised to obtain medical insurance before travelling to Canada.
All residents of British Columbia are required by law to obtain medical insurance, and therefore proof of medical insurance coverage is mandatory for all Alexander College students prior to course registration. The province of British Columbia operates comprehensive public healthcare coverage through Medical Services Plan (MSP). For newcomers to BC there is a 90-day waiting period to begin MSP coverage (i.e. MSP coverage becomes effective 90 days after arrival in BC), therefore it is advisable to purchase temporary private medical insurance for the interim, in case of emergency.
International students are recommended to see their Enrolment Advisor as soon as possible on arrival, and will be assisted to apply for MSP and private health insurance to cover the 90-day waiting period. Alexander College is not liable for medical, dental, or any other health-related expenses incurred by students.
Insurance Provider Choices
Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the provincial healthcare provider of British Columbia. All BC residents – including Temporary Residents such as international students-are required to have and maintain valid medical insurnace coverage. The Medical Services Plan (MSP) insures medically-required services provided by physicians and supplementary health care practitioners, laboratory services and diagnostic procedures.
Read the summary of benefits: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoben/pdf/msp-brochure.pdf
Learn about premiums (cost): http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoben/premium.html
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada
- Residents of British Columbia are required to have coverage under the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).
- Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents moving to BC from another Canadian Province or Territory must notify the Provincial Health Plan from their Home Province regarding your move to BC. Depending on the circumstances of your move to BC, you may be given the option to continue insurance from your home Province while you are a full time student in BC, or alternately, you may be advised to apply for BC MSP.
Note: Canadian and Permanent Residents moving to BC from another country must apply for the BC MSP upon arrival in BC, and you will have a three month waiting period before your MSP coverage begins. Therefore you must also purchase Private Medical Insurance for your first three months in BC. See the information above regarding where you can purchase private medical insurance.
- Enrolment for MSP is notautomatic. Students who will enroll for MSP should submit the MSP application shortly after arrival in BC.
- Upon arrival in BC there is a 3-Month waiting period before MSP coverage can begin, so students applying for MSP must purchase private medical insurance for at least their first three (3) months in BC
What should I do if I need to see a doctor but don’t have my CareCard yet?
If you have already submitted your application, you will be covered immediately after the waiting period – even if your CareCard has not arrived. You might have to pay at the time you receive health care, keep your receipt, and request reimbursement from MSP once your card arrives. During the waiting period for MSP, when you visit the Urgent Care, Emergency Department in a hospital or have inpatient services (lab, radiology and other procedures), you may show a copy of your study permit to receive a reduced rate.
BC Medical Services Plan PO Box 1600 Victoria, BC Canada V8W 2X9
Telephone: 604 660-2421
As an alternative to provincial health insurance, students may choose to purchase private medical insurance, provided that the insurance is valid for medical expenses in Canada. In an effort to make it easy for international students to buy affordable medical insurance, Alexander College has made arrangements with a local insurance provider (Guard.Me) to offer its students high quality and low cost health insurance designed for international students.
Read the benefits summary or purchase insurance online by visiting Alexander College’s page on the Guard.Me website. https://www.guard.me/alexandercollege
The Guard.Me website is also useful in locating a clinic or medical service that accepts private insurance. https://www.guard.me/alexandercollege/clinic-search.php