Health Insurance

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. 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 which are not covered by AHCIP or UAHIP. These costs include dental and eye-care, as well as prescription medication, 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).

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 you are presently taking
  • 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.

Basic Health Care Plans

Insurance covers basic costs such as visits to the doctor, lab costs and hospital costs. The basic health plan you need depends on how long you’re studying at UAlberta:

  • Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (for those staying more than 12 months)

    • AHC is free of charge

    • You must apply within 90 days of your arrival to be covered by the plan

    • It does not cover dental care, eyeglasses or prescription medication. A portion of these costs may be covered by supplementary healthcare plan, if you have it.

    • The effective date of coverage will be retroactive to the first day you arrived in Alberta from outside Canada.

    • Students arriving from another Canadian province where they had provincial health insurance are expected to be covered for their first 2 months by that province's health insurance.

    • You must be over 18 years of age to be eligible for AHC. If you are less than 18 years of age, please register for UAHIP.

    • Come to the International Services Centre for application forms.

  • University of Alberta Health Insurance Plan (for those studying less than 12 months)

    • You are automatically enrolled in the University of Alberta Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP) 

    • UAHIP costs $32 per month (effective September 1, 2016) 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.

    • Normally for exchange and visiting students

    • Participation in this plan is mandatory for students attending UAlberta for six weeks or more, who do not have/are not eligible for Alberta Health Care Insurance.

    • Participation for your dependants (spouse or children) is optional at an additional cost. You must enrol your dependants within 30 days of your effective coverage date or their arrival in Alberta, whichever is later.

    • Provides equivalent coverage to Alberta Health Care Insurance, plus coverage for:

    • prescription medication

    • ambulance service

    • repatriation in the event of illness or death

    • Coverage begins on the first day of the month in which you begin studies. If you arrive before that date, arrange traveler's health insurance to cover you for the interim.

    • 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.

    • Download the UAHIP Brochure for plan details or Visit the International Services Centre for more information.


    Exemption for students with Alberta Health Care: Students assessed the UAHIP fee who have Alberta Health Care Insurance must present proof of this coverage to the International Centre before the fee payment deadline in each term to be exempted from UAHIP. Coverage by any insurance plan other than Alberta Health Care (AHC) will not allow you to be exempted from UAHIP. If you have AHC coverage you may opt out of UAHIP. Visit the International Centre for more details.

    Tip: Purchase travel health insurance so that you’re covered during your journey to Canada. You are not covered by Canadian health insurance providers until you either arrive in Canada or begin studies (see below for details).

Supplementary Health and Dental Plan

As an international student at the University of Alberta, you belong to either the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) for graduate students, or the Students’ Union (SU) for undergraduate students.

Students who register full-time in the Fall Term (September) are automatically assessed Supplementary Health and Dental Fees as follows:

  • Undergraduate students - Approx. $200 for the Students' Union Health and Dental Plan
  • Graduate Students - Approx. $360 for the Graduate Students' Association Health and Dental Plan

Enrollment in either program provides you with supplementary health benefits and dental coverage for 12 months. 

New full-time and part-time students enrolled in the Winter Term are not automatically covered by these plans. You may enrol yourself by completing an enrolment form and paying the appropriate fee during the Change-of Coverage Period

The SU and the GSA Health & Dental Plans were designed to provide many important services and cover expenses not covered by a basic health-care plan, such as prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, visits to physiotherapists, chiropractors, and more. 

Your Student Health & Dental Plan does not replace basic medical coverage such as the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) or the equivalent U of A Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP). 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: SU (undergraduate students), GSA (graduate students). 

Exchange students are not eligible to be covered by the Student Health & Dental Plans.