International student must have comprehensive health and accident insurance while studying in British Columbia (BC). Medical services in BC are expensive if you do not have a medical plan – a hospital stay can cost thousands of dollars per day.
There are two types of basic insurance: public (MSP) and temporary private insurance. Newly admitted students can get information to enroll in the Accepted Students section of this website.
Public Insurance: BC Medical Services Plan
The Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP) is mandatory medical coverage for all British Columbia residents. All residents of BC, including international students, are legally required to enrol in MSP. It covers basic medical services such as doctors’ visits (in most cases) and hospitalization.
Upon enrolment in MSP, you will receive a BC CareCard. You can present this card at a doctor’s office or hospital to receive basic medical services free of charge.
Temporary Private Insurance
For the first three months, international students MUST arrange for private medical insurance. You may choose your own company (minimum $2 million coverage), but check back here in March 2018 for who Langara recommends.
When accessing medical services (ie. visiting a doctor or hospital) with private insurance, you may need to pay up-front and then send your receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement, depending on if direct billing is available.
Extended Health Insurance
All full-time students in a regular program (university studies or career program) who pay Langara Students’ Union fees are automatically enrolled in the Langara Students' Union Health & Dental Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can I use my BC Services Card for?
A: You can use your BC Services Card when you visit the hospital, doctor’s office or medical clinics for emergency and non-emergency visits.
Q: How do I use my BC Services Card?
A: When you visit the doctor or the hospital, show your BC services Card and you will not need to pay for the visit for basic services.
Q: Does my BC Services Card cover prescription medication, vision care and dental care?
A: No. The BC Services Card is a basic medical insurance plan (eg: it covers for doctor & hospital visits). Prescription medication, vision care and dental care are covered through and extended health plan.
If you are in the University Transfer, Career, Bachelor, or Post Degree program, you are covered automatically through the Langara Student Union extended health plan if you are registered as a full-time student in the Fall Semester. More information: www.ihaveaplan.ca If you are in LEAP, you have the option to look for your own extended health plan, however, please note that these private plans are very expensive.
Q: How do I pay for my MSP bills?
A: MSP will send regular bills to the address on your application form. The current rate is $37.50/month. Bills can be paid by credit card online or at your bank. Please check the back of your MSP bill for other payment options. (eg: Mail a personal cheque or set up online banking)
Q: If I go back to my home country for a short term, can I put my MSP account on hold?
A: You must contact MSP by telephone at 604-683-7151 to make arrangements.
Q: What if I move to a new address?
A: If you still live in British Columbia, you must contact MSP to change your address. You can also change your address online. If you are leaving British Columbia, you can complete the Permanent Move outside British Columbia form.
Q: What if I lose my BC Services Card? Can I get a replacement?
A: If you need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged Services Card, you should contact MSP by telephone at 604-683-7151 to request for a new card.
Q: How can I contact MSP?
A: There are no MSP offices in Metro Vancouver. They are located in Victoria.
You can contact MSP by telephone at 604-683-7151 if you are in North America. A customer service representative will be available to assist you between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. pacific time, Monday to Friday. If you are outside North America, please call MSP toll-free number at 1-800-663-7100.
If you would prefer to write, the mailing address is:
Medical Services Plan
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9E3
Q: What can I do if I have questions about MSP invoices?
A: Invoices for MSP premiums are issued by Revenue Services of British Columbia. If your question concerns an invoice, a payment you’ve made, payment options or collection activity, contact Revenue Services of British Columbia:
Toll-free: 1 866 361-5050
Q: Can I add a spouse and dependents to my MSP account?
A: Yes. To add a spouse or children complete the MSP Account Change form.