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Canadian health insurance for international students

Welcome to Canada! When starting your adventure as a student in a new country, you probably don't know what to expect. The culture, the customs, the environment...It all seems so different.

Before you embark on this exciting new journey, make sure you’re covered in case of a medical emergency. In Canada, medical coverage for international students varies from province to province, and without adequate insurance, doctor bills and hospital care can cost thousands of dollars.

On RATESDOTCA, you can compare health insurance plans specifically designed for international students like yourself. It only takes a few minutes to find the best rate, saving you time and money. Get covered today.

How to get international student insurance quotes on RATESDOTCA

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Do international students get free healthcare in Canada?

Every Canadian province has its own health care system, and they all operate slightly differently. For international students, it really depends on where you live.

In Ontario for example, international students are not eligible for coverage under the provincial Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), but public universities offer coverage via something called the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). New Brunswick allows international students to receive basic health insurance through their provincial plan, while neighbouring Nova Scotia does not.

Even if your destination province does offer some coverage, you may be able to purchase additional protection from a private insurance company. It all depends on where in Canada you are going and how much coverage you need.

International student insurance in Canada by province

Province Is public health insurance available? How does it work?
Alberta Yes International students in Alberta studying for a period of at least six months are usually eligible for provincial health insurance coverage through the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)
Yes International students studying in British Columbia for a period of at least six months are usually eligible for BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP).
Manitoba No As of September 2018, international students in Manitoba are not eligible for public health insurance.
Yes In New Brunswick most international students are eligible to receive free basic health coverage through New Brunswick Medicare.
and Labrador
Yes International students are eligible for free basic health coverage through the province’s Medical Care Plan (MCP) provided that they are enrolled in full-time studies for a period of at least 12 months.
No International students in Nova Scotia must purchase health coverage before they arrive. The provincial health care plan is only available to international students who have been in Nova Scotia for over 12 consecutive months, and who have not left the province for more than 31 consecutive days.
Ontario No International students in Ontario are not eligible for the provincial Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Public universities generally offer health insurance through the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), while colleges and other private institutions may present options from other providers.
Edward Island
Yes International students in Prince Edward Island (PEI) are eligible for public health insurance if they will be living in PEI for at least six months. However, a person can only apply for a PEI Health Card after residing in the province for at least three months, so you are not covered during that initial period.
Quebec It depends The province of Quebec has reciprocity agreements with ten different countries, which sometimes enables residents of these countries to register for free basic health insurance through Quebec’s Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).
Saskatchewan Yes International students in Saskatchewan studying for a period for at least six months may be eligible to register for free basic health coverage through the province by obtaining a Saskatchewan Health Card.

Frequently asked questions about international student insurance in Canada

What is international student insurance?

International student travel insurance helps to protect visiting students who are studying in Canada from unexpected medical costs due to accidents, poor health and other medical emergencies that occur during their stay.

International student travel insurance quotes are only available for individuals studying in Canada. If you're coming to Canada for a vacation, or have friends or family planning to visit, you should compare quotes for Visitors to Canada or Super Visa insurance instead.

What does international student insurance cover?

International student medical insurance plans typically include:

  • Up to $2,000,000 for eligible emergency medical expenses.
  • Extended coverage for physician fees, x-rays, physiotherapist visits, chiropractor visits, mental health and prescription drugs.
  • Emergency dental coverage.

Many international student health insurance plans extend coverage to side trips, as long as you depart from (and return to) Canada.

What are the eligibility requirements for international student insurance?

To get international student insurance, you must prove that you are:

  • Currently in good health.
  • Not insured or eligible for benefits under a government-run health insurance plan.
  • Enrolled in at least 60% of the courses for a program at a Canadian school, college, university or other accredited educational institution.

Can international students get a health card?

In several provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, international students are eligible for a health card provided they are studying in Canada for at least six months, but other provinces are different. Check out our guide to health coverage for international students by province.

How much does international student health insurance cost?

International student health insurance typically costs around $1 to $2 per day, depending on where you are studying, how long you are staying in Canada, and a few other factors.

Compare international student insurance costs and coverage options right here on Rates.ca. We have more insurance partners than anyone else, so we are confident you’ll find a great rate that suits your student budget.

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