Cost of Health Care Insurance while Studying in Canada

studying canada doctoraMedical services in Canada are expensive and you must have medical insurance coverage while you are studying in Canada.  There is no one set premium amount for health care insurance for international students studying in Canada.  Each province has their own health care insurance plan and each sets their own policies regarding international students.  Additionally not all universities or colleges in Canada offer the same health insurance package to their students due to enrolment numbers and different health insurance providers.

Nevertheless, international students can find out about health care insurance prior to their arrival in Canada.  Here are some general guidelines once it comes to the cost of health care insurance while studying in Canada.

Provincial Health Care Coverage – Several provinces allow international students to opt into their basic health care insurance coverage plans.  These plans are free to all residents of the province including international students studying in that province and students are eligible for the same benefits as other residents under the plan.  Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba offer this medical insurance coverage free to international students.

To be eligible to apply for provincial coverage, students must show that they will be in the province for 12 months or more.  Manitoba has a policy of 6 months, not 12.  You will have to show supporting documents to confirm that you will be a student for that period of time and that you reside in that province.  In most cases you can apply as soon as you arrive.

In British Columbia, you must also apply for the province’s medical insurance plan, but it is not free.  They charge around $66 per month.  International students are not eligible for provincial health care benefits in most of the other provinces.

Health Care Benefits through your Educational Institute – All students will automatically be charged for health care benefits and you will see these premiums added to your tuition and fee assessment.  These are compulsory fees as every international student must pay into some health care insurance plan.  In the cases where you have free provincial health care benefits, these added health care insurance packages are for extended health care services that include prescriptions, dental, ambulance and other services that are not included under the provincial plans.  In cases where international students are not eligible for provincial coverage, these medical insurance packages include both basic and extended benefits.

Under certain conditions, an international student can opt out of the extended medical insurance plans, especially if they can prove that they have coverage under a different insurance provider.

Depending on where you go to school, compulsory medial insurance costs at an educational institution can range anywhere from $400 to $900 (or more depending on certain conditions) per year.

In all cases, check with the International Centre at the institution where you will be attending to understand what are your medical care benefits and how those will be available to you.  You should also inquire about the provincial health care insurance plans to see how you apply for those if you are eligible.  Some universities offer their students limited onsite medical facilities; again check with the international centres to see what provisions you have.

Travel Insurance – It is advised to obtain medical travel insurance before you leave your home country to cover you in the case of an emergency while you are traveling and also for that interim period while you apply for a provincial plan.

If you need assistance to realise your goals of studying in Canada, contact your Canadian international student representative in Pakistan.  Inquire about their excellent consultancy services and rates.


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