Canadian Citizens & Permanent Residents: Graduate Students
Note: In Canada, there are two types of medical insurance: primary and secondary. At SFU both Primary and Secondary Medical Insurance are required.
This page is regularly reviewed and was last updated on January 28, 2021.
Primary medical insurance covers services that require medical attention, such as visits to doctors, hospital stays and diagnostic medical testing. Primary medical insurance is legally required for all residents of British Columbia (including international students) and is provided through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). An interim solution for the waiting period during the coverage gap is a short-term medical insurance plan called guard.me.
Moving to BC from another province?
Canadian students who do not plan to take up permanent residence in BC may be able to remain on your home province's medical plan. Check with your home province.
If you are not able to remain on your home province coverage, you must apply for the BC's Medical Services Plan.
Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident moving to Canada?
You must apply for the BC's Medical Services Plan. You must also ensure that you have medical insurance during the waiting period coverage gap.
BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)
What is the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)?
Students staying in BC for 6 months or longer are required to enrol in the British Columbia Medical Services Plan under the Medicare Protection Act. There is a wait period of 2-3 months for new residents. In order to be covered during the wait period you may purchase a private medical insurance plan or please contact International Services for Students to learn about medical insurance options.
If you are a new international student at SFU, you will be automatically enrolled in guard.me@sfu plan for your first term while you wait for your BC MSP.
BC MSP provides primary medical coverage such as:
- services provided by a doctor
- X-rays, lab tests (as required by a doctor)
- emergency dental and oral surgery in hospital
How and when can I apply for MSP?
To apply for BC MSP, complete the MSP Application online at this website.
You may also complete the MSP Application Enrolment form by mail and mail it directly to BC MSP.
If you are eligible, you can apply as soon as you arrive in BC. Please note there is a wait period of 2-3 months for new residents before your coverage begins. If you are a new international student at SFU, you will be automatically enrolled in guard.me@sfu plan for your first term while you wait for your BC MSP.
If you are a returning student travelling back to BC, in order to be covered during the wait period you may purchase a private medical insurance plan. Please contact International Services for Students about temporary medical insurance options to cover the MSP waiting period.
How does BC MSP work?
Once enrolled, BC MSP will mail you a BC Services Card. When visiting a health clinic or hospital, you will be asked to show your BC Services Card as proof of enrolment. You will not be required to pay for the visit, they will bill BC MSP directly.
Secondary medical insurance generally covers vision care, prescription drugs, dental and extended health care. Eligible SFU students receive secondary medical insurance through the SFSS/GSS Extended Health and Dental Plan. If you are working as a TA, you may receive coverage through another provider as part of your employment contract.
GSS Health and Dental Plan
Cost: $465.00/ academic year*
Enrolment: Automatic (except if entering in summer term). May-start students can self-enrol for their first semester at SFU during the Change-of-Coverage Period.
More Info: GSS Health and Dental Plan website
*prices are subject to change without notice
What is the GSS Health and Dental Plan?
The Graduate Student Society (GSS) health and dental plan is in place to complement primary medical coverage (ie. BC MSP). Services not included by primary coverage (ie. vision and dental care) are included in the GSS plan.
Eligible students are automatically covered by and billed for applicable portions of the student plan. Note that plan benefits are only accessible within Canada.
How and when can I opt out of the GSS Health and Dental Plan?
How can I make claims?
You can submit health and dental claim forms directly to the insurance company. You may also file claims online through the ihaveaplan mobile app. For more information, and to download the app, click here.
If you have an active TSSU appointment, you may also choose to opt into a private extended health plan (Pacific Blue Cross). For more information, visit the International Teaching Assistants page.