Medical expenses can be extremely high in Canada, so you must have medical insurance. When you arrive, you will need to participate in either the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan or the UAlberta Health Insurance Plan.
In Alberta and Canada, the following terms are often used:
- Health insurance refers to any health plan which will cover your medical expenses such as visits to the doctor, lab costs and hospital costs. For most Albertans (Canadians, and those residing in Alberta) have the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). This Plan also covers all international students studying in Alberta for periods of over 12 months. Otherwise, you will use the University of Alberta Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP).
- Supplementary coverage covers, full or in-part, medical expenses that are not covered by AHCIP or UAHIP. These costs include dental and eye-care, as well as prescription medication, some vaccinations, and medical devices. International students at the University of Alberta are covered automatically through their student associations (you may opt-out of these plans if you wish). Exchange students are not eligible for this supplementary coverage.
Things to bring
If you have an existing medical condition or detailed medical history, bring an English copy of your medical record with you. If you are taking prescription medication:
- Bring an adequate supply of any prescription medication.
- Contact a doctor when you arrive to obtain a prescription for the same medication or, if such medication is not available in Canada, a prescription for suitable medication that is available.
If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, bring an extra pair of eyeglasses and/or a supply of contact lenses.
Tip: Purchase travel health insurance so that you are covered during your journey to Canada. Canadian health insurance providers do not cover you until you arrive in Canada or begin studies (see below for details).
As a degree student (undergraduate or graduate), you will have two insurance plans: Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan and Supplementary Health and Dental Plan.
Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)
Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) covers basic services such as visits to the doctor, lab costs and hospital costs. It is free of charge for Albertans (including international students). It does not cover dental care, eyeglasses or prescription medication. A portion of these costs may be covered by a supplementary healthcare plan if you have it.
Am I eligible?
- Students who are over 18 years of age, have a study permit valid for 12 months or longer for an Alberta educational institution and are committed to being physically present in Alberta for at least 183 days in a 12-month period are eligible for AHCIP coverage.
- If you are less than 18 years of age, please register for UAlberta Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP) by contacting email@example.com.
When should I apply?
- You must apply within 90 days of your arrival to be covered by the Plan.
- The effective date of coverage will be retroactive to the first day you arrived in Alberta from outside Canada.
How to apply?
- Download the application form
- Complete the application form
- Gather your supporting documents
You need to provide supporting documents to prove your identity, your Alberta residency and legal entitlement to be in Canada. Examples of supporting documents:
- Identity documents: passport, Alberta driver's license
- Alberta residency documents: bills (utility or phone bills), rental agreement. If you live in a campus residence, Residence Services can provide you with a letter confirming your place of residence and mailing address.
- Legal entitlement documents: study permit
- Submit the application
Bring your completed application form and the original supporting document to an authorized registry agent to submit your application. There is no charge for this service.
What happens next?
- Processing time can take up to 5 days, and your card will be mailed to the address you provide on the application form.
- Once you receive your card, please check your full name and date of birth. Contact the AHCIP office if there are any mistakes on your card or if you have any questions.
- The expiry date for your health coverage is the same as your current study permit.
Supplementary Health and Dental Plan
International students (with the exception of exchange students) at the University of Alberta are enrolled in either the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) Health & Dental Insurance Plan for graduate students or the Students' Union (SU) Health & Dental Plan for undergraduate students.
Your Student Health & Dental Plan does not replace basic medical coverage, such as the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) or the University of Alberta Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP). Exchange students are not eligible to be covered by the Student Health & Dental Plans as they are not assessed membership fees for these associations, and an opt-in is not possible.
What's covered in this Plan?
- The Plan covers expenses not covered by a basic healthcare plan, such as prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, visits to physiotherapists, chiropractors, and more.
- Visit StudentCare for complete details.
How much does it cost, and how do I enroll in the Plan?
Students who register full-time in the Fall Term (September) are automatically assessed Supplementary Health and Dental Fees.
Can I opt-out of this Plan?
If you already have equivalent health/dental coverage from another plan, you may opt-out of this Plan. Deadlines for opting out can be found on the StudentCare website for undergraduates and the GSA StudentCare website for graduate students.
How do I submit an insurance claim?
- Undergraduate students: complete the claim form and submit to the insurance company.
- Graduate students: complete the claim form and submit to the insurance company.
You can also download the Studentcare App to file a claim.
Exchange or visiting students are automatically enrolled in the University of Alberta Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP). This Plan is mandatory for students attending UAlberta for six weeks or more, and who do not have/are not eligible for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.
What's covered in this Plan?
This Plan provides equivalent coverage to the Alberta Health Care Insurance, plus coverage for:
- prescription medication (up to a maximum of $500 per calendar year)
- ambulance service
- repatriation in the event of illness or death
Find more details in the UAHIP brochure or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much does it cost? When does the coverage begin?
UAHIP costs $50 per month for single students. The UAHIP fee is assessed per full term, of which you are a registered student. It cannot be prorated when your length of study is shorter than one full term. The cost is added to your fee assessment.
- Participation for your dependents (spouse or children) is optional at an additional cost. You must enroll your dependants within 30 days of your effective coverage date or their arrival in Alberta, whichever is later.
- Coverage begins on the first day of the month in which you begin studies. If you arrive before that date, arrange traveller's health insurance to cover you for the interim.
How can I get my UAHIP card?
- You will receive instructions to download your insurance Ecard once you are enrolled in the Plan.
Can I extend my UAHIP coverage?
- You may extend your UAHIP coverage for one to four months beyond the completion of your program of study if you apply for an extension before the expiry date of your existing coverage. Contact email@example.com to extend UAHIP.
Can I opt-out of this Plan?
- Students assessed fees for UAHIP may opt-out of UAHIP before the fee payment deadline each term only if they present proof of Alberta Healthcare Insurance Plan (AHCIP) coverage. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I have Alberta Health Care Insurance, but it will expire soon because my Study Permit will expire. What should I do?
If your study permit expires soon, you must apply for a new permit immediately and notify the AHCIP office. You might be eligible for a temporary health insurance extension. Once you receive your new study permit, bring a copy of your new permit to the nearest registry to renew your health insurance plan.
- My Study Permit has expired. Does AHCIP still cover me?
If your study permit has expired, you are not eligible to be covered by the AHCIP temporarily. You can enrol in UAHIP until you receive your new study permit and renew your AHCIP coverage. There is a monthly fee for UAHIP. Contact email@example.com for more information.
- I will move to Alberta from another Canadian province. Am I eligible for AHCIP?
Yes, you need to apply for AHCIP once you arrive in Alberta. Students coming from another Canadian province where they had provincial health insurance are expected to be covered for their first 3 months by that province's health insurance.
- I have a spouse and 2 children. Can I enrol them in the Supplementary Health and Dental Plan?
Yes, you can extend your coverage to your family (spouse and/or dependants) by enrolling them in the Plan and paying an additional fee, over and above your individual fee as a Plan member. Common law and same-sex couples are eligible. Here's more detailed information: Couple and Family Enrolment section for undergraduate students and Couple and Family Enrolment section for graduate students.
- Do I need to carry my health care card with me all the time?
It is highly recommended to carry your card with you all the time. If you need to receive emergency medical care at an Alberta Health Services hospital, it is important to present your valid health care insurance card upon arrival. If you do not have your health care card, you will be asked to pay up to $1000 at the start of your visit. Be sure to check your card each term to ensure that it has not expired and always carry it with you.
- I'm sick. Do I need to go to the hospital to see the doctor?
If you have an emergency, please call 911 or go to the emergency department in hospitals. But if it's non-emergency, you can:
- Visit the University Health Centre, located on the 2nd floor in SUB (Student's Union Building). Or
- Visit any walk-in clinic to see a doctor. Or
- Contact your family physician.
- I'm not feeling well. It's not an emergency, and all of the clinics are closed. What should I do?
You can call Health Link at 811 for advice. It's available 24/7 and is available in more than 240 languages.
- I lost my Alberta Health Care card. What should I do?
You need to contact the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan office and request a replacement card.