Medical Insurance

It is critical that all international students arrange medical insurance coverage that meets your needs and that you understand your options. Without adequate medical insurance, you will have to pay the full cost of any medical treatments, which can be very expensive. Learn more about your options and the steps you need to take below!

Medical Insurance

Students Studying Degrees at UCalgary

If you are starting an undergraduate or graduate degree at the University of Calgary, there are two important pieces to your medical insurance:

  1. Free provincial health insurance plan for Alberta residents
  2. Supplemental coverage through either the Students Union Health & Dental Plan (undergraduate students) or the Graduate Student Association Health & Dental Plan (graduate students)

Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) is a free provincial plan that covers basic services such as visits to the doctor, laboratory tests, and hospital costs if you are admitted to the hospital. This plan does not cover services like prescription drugs, dental services, vision care, or ambulance transport (which the supplemental plans through SU or GSA do help to cover).

What do I need to do?

If you are moving to Calgary from another country, and intend to live in Alberta for 12 months or more, you must apply for AHCIP coverage within 90 days (3 months) of moving to Alberta.

If you are moving to Calgary from another province in Canada, and intend to live in Alberta for 12 months or more, you must apply for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan within 90 days (3 months) of moving to Alberta. Coverage through the AHCIP starts 3 months after you officially reside in Alberta; in the meantime, you can continue to use your health care card from another province, but be aware that coverage for some services may be different in Alberta.

How to Apply for AHCIP? 

To apply to register for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), you must:

  1. Download the AHCIP form
  2. Take the form to an authorized registry office
  3. If you live on or near campus, the easiest registry office to reach is called “Registry Express” located at “Lions Park” C-Train station (2 stops south from the University), in North Hill Mall
  4. Application Process for AHCIP

 

If you are a full-time undergraduate student, you are automatically enrolled in a Health and Dental plan through the Students Union (SU). This insurance plan helps to cover some of the services that are not covered through the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. You are automatically charged for the SU Health and Dental Plan and can see it in your student portal when you view your fees.

Do you need to make changes? 

Opting-Out: If you already have health insurance coverage through employment, parents, or a private plan that provides comparable coverage to the SU plan, you may “opt-out” of these plans before the “change of coverage deadline”, usually about a month after courses start (exact dates are available through health plan links on this page). If you demonstrate you have comparable coverage, you can choose to “opt-out” by submitting documentation and the charge would be removed from your account if approved. Learn more about the process of “opting-out” through the link provided below.

Adding Family Members: If you have dependents (children, partner, spouse), you may add them to your plan for an additional fee. You must make these changes before the deadlines available through the SU website.

Educate yourself about your coverage and how to “submit a claim”

It is important that you understand what the SU Health & Dental Plan covers—so you know what services you might have to pay for yourself and what services you can “submit a claim” for, so that you will be reimbursed for a portion or full cost of a service. Visit the websites below to learn:

  • What services are covered
  • Deadlines to make changes (like opting out or adding family/dependents)
  • How to submit a claim (to receive money back after paying for a covered service)

If you are a full-time graduate student, you are automatically enrolled in a Health and Dental plan through the Graduate Students Association (GSA). This insurance plan helps to cover some of the services that are not covered through the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. You are automatically charged for the GSA Health and Dental Plan and can see it in your student portal when you view your fees.

Do you need to make changes? 

Opting-Out: If you already have health insurance coverage through employment, parents, or a private plan that provides comparable coverage to the GSA plan, you may “opt-out” of these plans before the “change of coverage deadline”, usually about a month after courses start (exact dates are available through health plan links on this page). If you demonstrate you have comparable coverage, you can choose to “opt-out” by submitting documentation and the charge would be removed from your account if approved. Learn more about the process of “opting-out” through the link provided below.

Adding Family Members: If you have dependents (children, partner, spouse), you may add them to your plan for an additional fee. You must make these changes before the deadlines available through the GSA website.

Educate yourself about your coverage and how to “submit a claim”

It is important that you understand what the GSA Health & Dental Plan covers—so you know what services you might have to pay for yourself and what services you can “submit a claim” for, so that you will be reimbursed for a portion or full cost of a service. Visit the websites below to learn:

  • What services are covered
  • Deadlines to make changes (like opting out or adding family/dependents)
  • How to submit a claim (to receive money back after paying for a covered service)

If you are studying towards a degree at the University of Calgary and are living in Calgary with family members (spouses/partners and single children under the age of 21), you will register for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) together.

A spouse/partner or dependent coming with a student may be eligible for coverage depending on the length of time they have been allowed to stay in Canada. When entering Canada, the officer at the port of entry should issue a “visitor record” for your dependent(s) that indicates how long they are allowed to stay in Canada. The officer should also stamp their passport and indicate the date by which they must leave Canada. If the officer does not automatically stamp their passport, please request that they do so. Learn more here

Exchange or Visiting Students

All international exchange & visiting students studying at the university must arrange adequate medical insurance to cover any medical care while they are in Canada. If students do not have medical insurance, they are responsible for paying all costs for medical treatment themselves.

As you will be staying for less than one year in Canada, you are not eligible for the free provincial plan for Alberta residents (the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan). Instead, you must purchase a private plan through an insurance company or agent, in your home country or upon arrival in Canada.

For most exchange & visiting students, the simplest choice (recommended strongly by International Student Services) is purchasing a medical insurance plan in your home country. If you are in Calgary and have not purchased a plan, please contact iss@ucalgary.ca for a list of options to explore as soon as possible.

A private medical insurance plan should at least cover doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, vision care, and dental care.

When you have a private health plan, typically the process is:

  1. You pay for a medical service
  2. You submit receipts to your private insurance company
  3. You are reimbursed a portion of the service according to your plan 

It is important that you check how much a service may cost before using that service.