The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the basic health insurance plan, encompassing much of the ‘universal health care’ that Canada is famous for. This plan covers medically necessary doctor visits, surgeries, diagnostic services (like x-rays) and more.
You are required to register for MSP if you plan on remaining in BC for more than six months and no longer have coverage under another province’s plan. Enrolling for MSP is easy — hop on the MSP tab on the Government of BC’s main webpage and you’ll be set in 15 minutes.
Since there is a three-month waiting period for MSP to kick in, students must seek out alternative health insurance in the meantime. International students are required to sign up for iMED, while the Global Campus Health Plan is recommended for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
While MSP is free for domestic students, international students will need to pay a $75 monthly fee.
For students seeking gender-affirming care, MSP covers many hormonal therapies and some gender-affirming surgeries. More information can be found on the Trans Care BC website.
Beyond the basics
Students are automatically signed up for the AMS/ GSS Health & Dental Plan and charged an annual fee of $277.50 alongside tuition and fees. This plan covers many health care benefits beyond MSP, including prescription drugs, vaccinations and visits to a licensed psychologist, as well as vision, dental and travel health coverage. Students can also claim up to $1,000 for mental health services.
If you already have health insurance and don’t want to be covered under this plan, you can opt out of it by contacting StudentCare. You can access additional information about this plan, including information about claims, through studentcare.ca.
As claims are handled by Pacific Blue Cross, information about your personal claims can be accessed at pac.bluecross.ca.
How to get prescription drugs
The AMS/GSS health and dental plan can cover up to 80 per cent of most prescription drug costs. If you are covered by MSP, you must register for BC Fair Pharmacare to access this coverage.
Fair Pharmacare offers coverage of prescrip- tion medications and some medical devices. Hormonal birth control, biologic therapies and ostomy supplies are all covered, at least partially, under this plan. A full list of covered goods is described in the PharmaCare Formulary Search.
This coverage is income-based: the less you earn (*cough* as a student *cough*), the greater the coverage you are entitled to. International students must sign up for a social insurance number (SIN), then use their SIN and an estimated income from the previous year to enrol. U