As an international student, you must have medical insurance while you are in Canada. Exchange students and visiting students must also have medical insurance.
By having medical coverage, you can get help when you need it without worrying about the financial cost.
Medical insurance coverage for international students
There are three medical plans that you must be part of, depending on the length of your stay. These are:
- guard.me which begins on the first day of the month your semester starts and provides you with coverage for your first three months in B.C.
- Medical Services Plan (MSP) for B.C. which provides you with coverage after you have been a resident for three months.
- Student Union Society (SUS) Health and Dental which starts on September 1 for the fall and winter semesters.
UFV International automatically enrols you in guard.me. This ensures you have private health coverage until you have MSP coverage. You are covered by guard.me as of the first day of the first month of your first semester.
Early Arrival Insurance
If you plan to arrive in Canada before the first day of the month of your first semester, you should purchase Early Arrival Insurance from guard.me. Contact guard.me for early arrival insurance or for family members’ insurance.
Your family members who travel with you are not included in your policy. You can purchase insurance for them directly through guard.me.
Opting out/Withdrawing from guard.me
You can withdraw from private medical insurance and get a refund for the current semester if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You submit a declaration of coverage by MSP.
- Coverage start: September 1, 2023
- Coverage end: November 30, 2023
- Opt-out period*: September 1 to 15, 2023
- Coverage start: January 1, 2023
- Coverage end: March 31, 2023
- Opt-out period*: January 1 to 15, 2023
- Coverage start: May 1, 2023
- Coverage end: July 31, 2023
- Opt-out period*: May 1 to 15, 2023
*If you miss the deadline, you may still complete the op-out application for a partial refund if you have a valid B.C. MSP and you have not made a claim using your guard.me health insurance plan.
Medical Services Plan (MSP) for B.C.
You must enrol in MSP within the first 10 days of your arrival in B.C. if you are an international student and will be studying in B.C. for six or more months.
Note: The waiting period to receive MSP coverage is approximately three months. UFV will therefore automatically enrol you in guard.me private insurance.
StudentCare — Student Union Society (SUS) Health and Dental Plan
Full-time students in the fall and winter semesters are automatically enroled in the SUS Health and Dental Plan. This plan is provided by StudentCare and includes extended health and dental coverage for services that are not part of MSP.
Your student fees include membership in the SUS, and the SUS takes care of the StudentCare plan. This plan is effective on September 1 each year.
Note: Exchange and visiting students who study at UFV for more than one semester are eligible for this plan.
MSP and COVID-19
For information about the MSP response to COVID-19, go to the Government of B.C. website, Medical Services Plan Response to COVID-19.
Changes to MSP coverage for students who began in Summer 2019 or earlier
If you began your studies in Summer 2019 or earlier, you have been removed from the UFV Group MSP, effective January 2020. This means that:
- You must manage your own MSP coverage directly with Health Insurance BC (HIBC).
- You must pay your health fee monthly to Revenue Services of B.C. (RSBC).
- You must update your address with RSBC to your current home address.
- You must update HIBC immediately with account changes such as new immigration documents (e.g., study permit extensions).
For more information about the new health fee, see the Government of B.C. Q&A on health fee for international students [PDF].
Exchange and visiting students
If you are an exchange student who is studying less than six months in B.C., you must enrol in the comprehensive private medical insurance plan provided by guard.me.
If you are an exchange student who is studying for more than six months in B.C.:
- You are automatically enroled in guard.me for your first three months.
- You must apply within 10 days of arriving in B.C. for MSP for the remainder of your studies at UFV. UFV International will provide you with MSP enrolment information during International Arrival Days.
For additional details, see the information earlier on this page about medical coverage for full-time students.