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). 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. You are not covered by Canadian health insurance providers until you arrive in Canada or begin studies (see below for details).

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)

    • Alberta Health Care 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.

    The expiry date for your health coverage is the same as your current study permit.

    • 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.

    • If your study permit has expired and you are ineligible to be covered by the AHCIP temporarily, you can enrol in UAHIP (see below) until you receive your new study permit and renew your AHCIP coverage. Cost of UAHIP is $50 per month.

    • Students arriving 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.

    • 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.

    • Go to the International Services Centre for application forms.

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

    • Usually for exchange and visiting students

    • This plan is mandatory for students attending UAlberta for six weeks or more and who do not have/are not eligible for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan 

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

    • 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 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 (up to a maximum of $500 per calendar year)

    • 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.

    You will receive an insurance card which can be picked up at the International Services Centre. In the event that you need to receive emergency medical care at an Alberta Health Services hospital, it is important to present your valid UAHIP insurance card upon arrival. If you do not have your UAHIP 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.

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

    Opt-out information for students with Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP): Students assessed for the UAHIP fee may opt out of UAHIP before the fee payment deadline each term. Bring your AHCIP card to the International Services Centre and complete the Request for Refund form (available at the front desk). Visit the International Services Centre for more details. 

Supplementary Health and Dental Plan

International students (with the exception of exchange students) at the University of Alberta 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. $280 for the Students' Union Health and Dental Plan
  • Graduate students - Approx. $500 for the Graduate Students' Association Health and Dental Plan

Enrolment in either program provides you with supplementary health benefits and dental coverage for 12 months (September 1 - August 31). 

New full-time and part-time students enrolled in the Winter Term may 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 for undergraduates and the GSA StudentCare website for graduate students. 

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.