Health and wellbeing are paramount for everyone. As human beings, our potential is limitless, until bad health restricts us. However, healthcare is costly in general. Therefore, health insurance is an essential part of our lives to help us to reduce the cost of maintaining good health.
In BC, public health insurance is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP) and is eligible for BC residents. MSP in BC is free for Canadian Citizens, PR holders, and workers with a valid Work Permit. It only costs 75CAD for international students with a valid study permit.
I’m an international student, can I study in BC Canada without any health insurance?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. International students in BC who are studying on a valid study permit for 6 months or more must apply for the MSP in BC. Medical Services Plan covers medically necessary services provided by physicians, dental, oral surgery, and more. It costs CAD 75 per month for all international students.
In addition to MSP in BC, there are also private health insurance companies in Canada. They offer emergency and non-emergency insurances to both residents and international students in Canada in a monthly plan fashion.
Simply visiting a doctor in Canada without health insurance would cost around CAD 200. Any diagnostic services such as an X-Ray would cost nearly 10 times more. For example, an X-Ray in Vancouver BC costs CAD 1,749 on average when visiting without any health insurance.
How to apply for MSP in BC
The simplest way to apply for Medical Service Plan is to submit your application online. To start your application please visit
and follow the instructions provided on the website.
Please note, after you submit your application, there are about 3 months of waiting time before you can use your MSP. We recommend you apply for BC Medical Services Plan as soon as possible after you arrived in BC. During the 3 months waiting period, many private health insurances are available for you to choose from.
Learn more about international students and healthcare in Canada.