Student Health Insurance

While Canada is famous for its free Canadian health care, the majority of these services are only available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. For this reason, all international students attending school in Canada must arrange for health insurance for the duration of their study program.

Canada’s health care system varies from province to province: Foreign nationals planning to study in the country should familiarize themselves with the Canadian health care offered by their province of study. Some provinces do cover international students under provincial health insurance plans, but the majority of provinces require students to register for private health insurance plans.

In many provinces requiring international students to obtain private health insurance, the educational institutions themselves offer health insurance packages to international students. In some cases, schools will require students to register for their health insurance packages.

while other schools will allow students to opt out of their student health insurance packages provided that the student can prove they are receiving private health insurance from another source. No matter the situation, all educational institutions will be familiar with the health insurance requirements for international students.

Canadian Health Care: All Canadian citizens and permanent residents have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital services without needing to pay out-of-pocket. While the universal healthcare is mandated at the federal level, healthcare programs are operated by the individual provinces and territories, so exact details of coverage vary depending on where a person is living.

The universal Canadian health care provided to all Canadians only covers medically necessary services, this is considered basic health care coverage. Those in Canada without permanent resident or citizen status should expect to pay out-of-pocket for medical services unless they have private health insurance.

In fact, many immigration programs require temporary residents to secure private health insurance for the duration of their stay in Canada. Temporary residents have a number of options for this: They can purchase private insurance from an insurance company.
If they are working in Canada, they may receive health insurance from their employer. If they are studying in Canada, they may register for insurance through their school.

In the event of an emergency, all provinces and territories will provide free services, even if a patient does not possess a government health card. However, there may be significant restrictions on the services that can be provided depending on a person’s immigration status.

Health Care Services for Students by Province

Out-of-Province Medical Insurance: Provincial health care coverage, whether provided through a free government program or purchased through a private plan, may only cover health care related expenses which occur within that specific province. International students wishing to travel outside of their province of study.

either to another province within Canada or to a country outside of Canada, should consult with their health insurance provider to determine if they will be covered during their travels. If an international student’s health insurance does not extend to periods of travel, they may purchase private health insurance in order to cover medical expenses incurred during travel.

Healthcare Options: There are a number of tools and resources available for international students wishing to explore private insurance options offered within Canada:

Find Insurance: This tool, operated by the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance, is a public service tool listing 99% of insurance programs offered by Canadian life and health insurance companies.

OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI): Canada’s independent information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance. This organization also acts as an independent complaint resolution services for insurance consumers.

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