10 Health Insurance Tips for International Students in Canada

Canada is the dream destination through academic point of view for a large number of students and scholarship recipients around the world. It is the tip of the iceberg to reach Canada for studying purposes because there are many hidden complications too for the smooth survival of an international student here. As an international student in Canada, you need to consider your residential requirements, dietary routine, health insurance and medical related issues, transportation and leisurely activities within a tight budget normally.

Have you also made it possible to reach Canada for your studies? Do you find yourself in serious trouble regarding your healthcare and its unbearable expenses? Then you need not to be worried at all because every problem has a perfect solution. You just need to explore it.

If you haven’t considered the health insurance for you as an international student in Canada then you are honestly advised to be prepared for any possible uninvited, unwanted or untoward health emergency or crisis. It will be worth buying health insurance if you value your health. We are going to discuss 10 Useful Tips on Getting Health Insurance in Canada for International Students. All you need is to stick to the post till the end.

Health Insurance Buying Guide

Imagine you have entered a country that is quite strange and new to you (though Canada is a very welcoming country for the foreigners) and you don’t have reliable links or trustworthy ties with the locals of the area and you need to buy some suitable foreign student health coverage plan for you. In such a case scenario, you will be vulnerable to any kind of misinformation or misguidedness. Ultimately, you will ruin the hard earned money of your parents. Therefore, you have to assess different situations and conditions before buying a foreign student health insurance plan in Canada.

Two Major Types of Health Insurances in Canada for International Students

All the students, coming from any country of origin who enter Canada, require a Health Insurance Card as a mandatory document. The government of Canada has varied health coverage plans in different provinces of the country for local and international students in Canada. For instance, if you are in Ontario you have to observe different health cover packages and in the province of British Columbia you will have some other options by the government run health insurance program. If you are in a province of Canada where you do not find any provincial health insurance plan then you have to look for some additional health insurance plan.

1. Provincial Health Insurance for International Students in Canada

The provincial healthcare system of the country offers you a health coverage plan for all the basic, preventive or emergency health crises. You are required to hold a provincial health insurance card to avail all the coverage mentioned in your plan.

However, provincial health insurance is not going to cover your dentist consultation, optician examination, prescription medications, hospitalization and some other diagnostic tests. For availing all these covers which are missing in provincial health insurance you need to look for some additional health insurance plan in Canada.

2. Additional Health Insurance for International Students in Canada

The first solid reason for having additional health insurance is that many of the hospitals in Canada would not admit a patient who is not holding a valid additional health insurance card. Secondly, if you are holding only a provincial health cover then you will not be able to avail health coverage in the other provinces of the country. So, without having additional health insurance you are going to drown thousands of dollars for no intelligible reason. Therefore, a wise student who has entered Canada for study purposes would definitely look for some best, cheap and affordable additional health insurance plan.

An additional health insurance plan will cover all those expenses which were missing in government backed/supported provincial healthcare insurance plans i.e. dental costs, optician fees, prescription drugs, ambulance expenses etc.

Related: Many international students do not know the complete guidelines for their dental insurance, they also do not know how health insurance covers the dental treatment bill, so if you are an international student, learn how to cover health insurance for dental treatment from this article.

10 Tips on Getting Health Insurance in Canada for International Students

Here are some queries and notable considerations that you must always give weightage to, while buying a medical or health coverage plan in Canada.

1. Why do you need health insurance after all?

Some of the students consider health insurance as an unnecessary thing that is nothing more than a burden on their pockets. Usually, they think that they will save some extra bucks by not buying a health insurance cover plan. Similarly, there are other students who have brought all the necessary syrups and tablets in bulk from their country and think that they need no extra medications anymore. However, it sounds a bit immature, silly and childlike gesture because Canada is notoriously expensive for health expenditures.

Many of the medical examinations that are free in numerous countries are not free in Canada at all. For instance, the regular doctor’s consultation and examination fee would put you in serious trouble because it is hard for you as a foreign student to bear its expenditure. The dentist examination or a visit to some optician that may be free in your country of origin will be even much more expensive in Canada. A single visit to a doctor for regular consultation may cost you around 150$ or even above that.

2. Don’t Wait until the Eleventh Hour

One of the most important things in your life that you never want to compromise or put them on stake is obviously your health. So, it is quite insane and unintelligible to drag your feet on such an important issue as your health. Even though it is not the requirement of your school or university, you should be the first to grab it. You are actually advised to get a better health cover before leaving your country for Canada.

3. Get a Basic Understanding of the Health Insurance Terminology

Since many of the foreign students who approach Canada come from different lingual backgrounds. Many of the students may be struggling with their English language understanding. On top of all this, they will find it quite troublesome to grasp the basic concepts of insurance terminology in a strange country. It will be all ‘Greek to them’. So, you need to acquire or learn about the fundamentals of health insurance plans.

You need to develop a basic and comprehensive sense of understanding about following terms.

  • Premium
  • Cover
  • Claim
  • Maturity of the Health Insurance Plan
  • Deductible
  • Co-Insurance

Grasping these concepts would make it much easier for you to deal with any health insurance agent or the provider without being tricked or trapped.

4. Purchase a Health Cover that Satisfies Your Visa Requirements

You need to consider whether your visa type is okay with foreign student health plan that you are going to buy or not? It is because different countries have different health cover plans that vary from one visa type to the other. Here we can take an example of the health insurance for international students studying in the USA because they need to identify their visa type before buying a health cover for them. The students who come to the USA to study on an F1 Visa do not have to follow the strict standards of the federal government. They only need to fulfill the requirements of their school or university. On the contrary, the students holding a J1 Visa are supposed to strictly follow the tight guidelines that the central government has made mandatory. It may include coverage for repatriation or evacuation along with certificate period minimum.

The ultimate lesson is to double check your visa requirements before applying for a health insurance plan in Canada as an international student.

5. Consider the Requirements of Your School/University

Your school or university will possibly have their own separate set of standards and requirements for your health insurance. You need to verify your health plan whether it is in agreement with your school/university’s guidelines and policies or not. Schools in Canada are pretty much aware of the provisions of different health insurance plans available to international students in the country. Since different healthcare plans have different offerings, the schools or universities have issued their own must have provision list for health insurance plans. You need to consider only those plans which are easily acceptable by your school.

6. Check for the Waiver/Compliance Form

In continuation of the above argument, schools and universities in Canada have issued their own Waiver Forms or Compliance Forms which clearly mention the must have provisions of an acceptable health coverage plan for a foreign student. You can get this Waiver/Compliance form from your institution or download it online by visiting its website. You need to fill in the student portion of the health insurance form mentioning your requirements and send it to your provider/insurance company. They will directly confirm it from your school through fax or mail and devise the suitable health cover plan for you.

7. Ensure Your Eligibility

Every insurance agency or the provider has its own set of requirements for its clients. Similarly, health coverage providers in Canada have different terms and conditions for the foreign students to apply for a particular health coverage. Sometimes it asks you to make sure the availability of a valid visa card. At times, it may ask you to show the social security number or submit other domestic information forms. Insurance provider may hold it necessary to attend certain number of Study credit hours in your institution. Otherwise, you will lose your eligibility for the health insurance. So you need to ensure all the eligibility criteria for health cover.

8. Consider Your Budget for the Premium

There are two simple things you need to understand. First, health insurance for students is normally cheap and affordable because students are young, energetic and less likely to meet any serious disease. Secondly, you must have a look on any hidden charges by the insurance company under the name of co-insurance, deductibles or co-pays. So you need to be pretty much aware of such unexpected expenses. Look for some cheap and affordable health insurance options that may meet your budget requirements easily.

9. Wisely choose the Best Health Insurance Provider

It is an overwhelming questions being repeatedly asked by the international Students in Canada that which health insurance provider is the most reliable and trustworthy to be chosen. Many of the online ads show that every insurance provider claims to be the most perfect one, but that is not the case in reality. You need to check the online reviews or physically visit any nearby health insurance provider to find an honest provider.

10. Know about the Cancellation Policy

In your academic life as an international student in Canada, you always need to be prepared for any unexpected or unforeseen incident. It is possible that you may get your visa denied or your school/university may not accept your health insurance plan or you have to return home for some serious reason leaving your study program in the middle.

In all such worse case scenarios, you have to consider the cancellation policy of your health insurance plan. You need to know about the reimbursement or refund policy of your health cover plan. You will be fully refund in case you withdraw before its date of taking effect. If you withdraw after that date then some fixed cancellation fee will apply.


A) Is health insurance mandatory for international students in Canada?

In maximum of the cases, it is compulsory for you to hold a health insurance card to take admission in any school. So, you are advised to get a perfect health coverage plan for you in advance before leaving for Canada.

B) Is it possible for an international student to get pregnancy insurance in Canada?

Many of the additional or private health insurance providers offer you Maternity Insurance During Pregnancy in Canada. It will cover ultrasounds, blood tests, and childbirth or termination fees.

C) How much does a health insurance cost to an international student in Canada? 

With effect from Jan 1, 2020 all the international students have to pay a monthly premium of almost 75$ in Canada. However, it can also vary from province to province and plan to plan as well.

Final Thoughts:

Final takeaway of the whole discussion is that a wise student must consider an affordable health insurance plan for him to meet any health emergency while his stay in Canada as a foreign student. A perfect Health Insurance Plan will save you from falling into serious financial trouble while dealing with your medications, regular doctor consultations, examinations and other health related issues.

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