Health and Medical Insurance

Why do I need to have health insurance?

Health insurance coverage is mandatory for all eligible B.C. residents. ASM students are responsible for ensuring they medical insurance coverage through the BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP) at all times, once they qualify. Each term at registration. you are required to make a declaration confirming that you have valid, paid up to date BC MSP coverage.

The cost of health care in Canada is high, and could pose a serious financial burden on someone who does not have insurance.

Types of medical insurance 

There are two types of insurance plans:

1. Primary Insurance – Provided through the Medical Service Plan

2. Bridging Insurance – Provided through GuardMe for the three month qualifying period for new students.

What is the Medical Service Plan (MSP)?

The MSP is a health insurance plan that covers the cost of medically required services of physicians and surgeons and for dental or oral surgery when medically required.

Under the Medicare Protection Act, every resident of British Columbia is required to be under the coverage of the BC MSP. If you are new to Canada, you must apply for MSP as soon as you arrive. There is a 3 month waiting period before new residents to BC are eligible for BC MSP.   During this time you must have private insurance, which ASM will arrange for you. 

If you are moving from another province, you should arrange for coverage with your former basic health plan during the waiting period. If your family is not here yet, they need to keep their existing provincial health care. Once they arrive, you can apply to add them to your plan. Also, the waiting period for each family member will begin on their individual arrival date.

How much does it cost? 

International students enrolled in British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) are invoiced a monthly health fee. Revenue Services of British Columbia (RSBC) provides billing and collections services for the health fee on behalf of the Province of BC. Therefore, you need to pay a $75 healthcare coverage fee per month. (note these rates are subject to change.  Please consult the BCMSP website)  This would vary if you have a spouse and or dependants. 

What would MSP cover?

MSP is the provincial insurance program that pays for required medical services. These include medically necessary services provided by physicians and midwives, diagnostic services including x-rays, dental care and oral surgery performed in a hospital, eye examinations if medically required and some orthodontic servicesRead more here.

How to Apply for MSP

  1. Click here
  2. Check Availability
  3. Upload Study Permit & Info
  4. You will be asked you’re your arrival date to B.C and Canada, so have that handy. After submission, please keep the reference number.

If you have any questions about your application, please contact MSP at 1-800-661-2668 or email your inquiries to

Note you might be already covered by MSP if you have been a resident of British Columbia before enrolling in Acsenda.

GuardMe International Insurance

New Students will initially be covered by GuardMe, which is a temporary student health insurance coverage to provide emergency medical coverage you while you wait for your MSP to start (three months after your arrival in British Columbia). However, GuardMe only covers new injuries and illnesses (this is why it is temporary) It covers you in case you become sick or injured after you arrive in Canada, NOT when you are already sick or hurt prior to purchasing the insurance. Guard me does not pay for expenses for an illness or sickness that you already had before the start date of your policy, or for routine doctor’s visits or treatments. However, Guard me does cover many things that are not included in the BC MSP such as emergency dental, transportation and prescriptions.

Your GuardMe insurance will be included in your first term tuition.

You will receive an email containing your GuardMe card; this card contains your policy/certificate number. You can log in to your account on the Guard me website if you need further information.

GuardMe Clinics

GuardMe has agreements with many medical clinics in the Vancouver area, so you can just present your card whenYou can locate any GuardMe clinic in Vancouver by using this tool here. However, if you cannot make it to any of the GuardMe clinics around you, you can visit any other clinic, pay upfront and get your money back from GuardMe (keep all the receipts from your expenditure). Also, if you want to learn more about making a claim here.