Do international students get free healthcare in Canada?

Being a Canadian citizen, you are backed by an amazing healthcare system. Similarly, as a study permit holder who will study in Canada for longer than 6 months, you are defined as a Canadian resident so you are also eligible to join the local medical service plan. Interested in applying for a Canadian study permit, why not explore the academic program first at Create Career College. 

The only thing to keep in mind is that the Canadian insurance plans are varied by the province. For example, some provinces require international students to pay a monthly fee, some provinces require international students to buy insurance plans from private institutions, while other provinces offer international students with free medical plans.

In this blog, we will focus on the medical service plan in the province of British Columbia and Alberta, as how international students can apply for it and what are the benefits/services included. We will talk about the importance for visitor visa holders to buy travel insurance and the price related. 

Study Permit Holder in the province of British Columbia

In the province of British Columbia (BC), international students should apply for the provincial Medical Service Plan (MSP). Starting from January 2020, the monthly MSP fee for international students is CAD 75. Students can visit to submit the application (the process of completing the form only takes 10 minutes). 

When your MSP application is approved, you will receive a British Columbia Service Card. After that, when you go to the clinic to see a doctor, your consultation fee, medical test fee, and X-ray imaging examination fee will be covered by the government.

*The application will take about 90 days to complete, so international students are encouraged to buy private plans during the waiting period. 

* To be eligible for MSP, your study permit must be longer than 6 months.

* Your Service Card can be used as a second type of ID. The first type of ID is government documentation such as passport and Canadian driver’s license). 

* It should be noted that you still need to pay for the prescribed medicine.

Study Permit Holder in the province of Alberta

In the province of Alberta, international students can apply for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, generally known as AHCIP. If your student permit is longer than 12 months or your work permit is longer than 6 months, there would be no monthly fee because it is all covered by the province.

The medical insurance covers the cost of various basic medical services, such as consultation fee, laboratory tests, X-ray imaging examinations etc. The coverage usually does not include prescription drugs, dentists, optometry, and ambulances.

*International students who hold a study permit of more than 3 months and less than 12 months may also apply for the AHCIP medical insurance if they can prove that they will live in Alberta for more than one year. It is subject to approval by relevant departments.

Visitor Visa

It is not mandatory for tourists and parents (visitor visa holder) to purchase visitor insurance. However, if you don’t have an insurance plan, your medical treatment would be very expensive (one-day hospitalization might cost thousands of Canadian dollars). Therefore, it is recommended for visitor visa holders to purchase insurance plans.

Visitor travel insurance is generally purchased according to the number of duration days. If you are under 25 years old and in good physical condition, the insurance fee is around $1.2/day, if you are with the age of 26 to 60, and in good physical condition, your insurance fee should not exceed $2.5/day.

It should be noted that the travel insurance mainly covers the cost of emergency medical treatment that happened in Canada. Therefore, ordinary physical examinations and dental examinations are not included. 

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