International students must have health insurance coverage while studying in British Columbia.
Medical services are expensive if you do not have a medical plan. A standard visit to an emergency room at a BC hospital can cost hundreds of dollars, and an extended hospital stay can cost thousands. You are advised to apply for a Medical Service Plan (MSP) as soon as you arrive in Canada as MSP processing may take up to three months.
Guard.me - temporary private insurance
While your MSP is being processed, you are required to have medical coverage for at least 120 days in BC by Guard.me international insurance. Your Guard.me fee is included when you register for your first term and coverage begins up to 7 days before the start of your program. If you plan to arrive more than 7 days before the start of the program, you are responsible for additional health insurance coverage.
You will receive your Guard.me insurance package upon arrival at your selected campus.
MSP - provincial medical insurance
MSP is BC’s provincial health insurance plan. Anyone living in BC for 6 months or longer (including international students) is required by law to enrol in MSP and pay the plan’s premiums. Monthly premiums are determined by the BC government and billed directly to students. Visit the Government of BC MSP website to view the monthly rates.
Why do I need MSP?
MSP covers the cost of basic medical care within Canada, such as doctors visits and hospitalization. In most cases, you will not have to pay at the time you seek medical care when you show your BC Services Card. MSP does not cover dental care, prescription drugs, routine vision care (such as eye examinations or corrective lenses), or travel.
How to apply?
You can apply for MSP online, in person or by mail. Use the option that works best for you. Visit the Government of BC MSP website for application options.
Upon enrollment in MSP, you will receive a BC Care Card. You can present this card at a doctor's office or a hospital to receive basic medical services free of charge. This card is proof of your MSP coverage and must be presented to the college.
You must present your new BC Care Card to the registration desk at any campus. If you choose not to provide proof of your MSP coverage, Coast Mountain College will re-enroll you in another term of Guard Me insurance and charge your student account.
Be sure to apply for your Medical Service Plan as soon as you arrive in Canada.
Coast Mountain College will set up a MSP application section during orientation so you may also apply on orientation day or contact us any time for assistance.
Once your MSP coverage begins
MSP will send you the invoice in the mail every month. You will need to start making payments directly to MSP after receiving the invoice.
Remember to tell MSP if you change your address, change your name, leave BC or need to add dependants to your coverage.
Remember to keep your MSP valid by renewing your coverage each time you extend your study permit. Your BC services card has the same expiry date as your study permit.
If you have questions regarding Guard.me or MSP contact our international student advisor at: firstname.lastname@example.org.