One of the key benefits of living, studying and working in Canada is the access to their first-rate medical infrastructure and remarkable healthcare systems. To avail the benefits of these facilities, all international students residing in British Columbia (B.C.) for a period of more than six months or more are required by law to enroll into the government Medical Services Plan and pay the plan’s premium.
Since January 1, 2020, international students living in B.C. must pay $75 per month as a health care coverage fee. While the fee is steep, enrolling for your MSP is vital as medical expenses in Canada can exceed thousands of dollars a day if not insured! A common benefit of the plan is that it covers the costs of the majority of doctor’s visits and hospital admissions in Canada.
However, students should be warned that the MSP coverage begins three months AFTER arriving in B.C., i.e., the month you arrive at B.C. plus two more months. Thus, if one were to arrive in B.C. on July 14, your MSP coverage kicks in only on October 1. Students must manage their private insurance for the first three months before moving onto the MSP.
The online application takes only 15 minutes to complete. You can save the data you enter up until closing your browser window or submitting it.
Some useful tips:
Use the recommended Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari for your MSP application.
- Ensure that everyone on your application has identification. All individuals should upload digital images of documents supporting their names and immigration status.
- International students: Copy of valid study permit or work permit such as Post Graduation or spouse/partner work permit
- Family members: Copy of visitor record, study permit, spouse/partner work permit, or passport stamp showing arrival date to Canada
- If the name on your I.D. doesn’t match your legal name, then you need a legal name change certificate.
On your British Columbia Services Card, the coverage period is indicated, which should match the expiration date of your study permit.
How to apply for MSP in British Columbia: Step by step guide
What happens once your MSP is active?
MSP will mail you a monthly invoice. Once you start receiving the invoice, you can begin making payments.
You should inform MSP if you change your address, your name, leave British Columbia permanently, or if you need to add or exclude family members from your coverage. To remain covered, you must apply for an extension of your MSP upon extending your study permit or receiving a postgraduate work permit.
Check out the medical benefits from B.C. Services Card
Students can also heave a sigh of relief once they get their Work Permits as they are not required to pay the premium fees anymore!
Source: Medical Services Plan