In some countries, people are covered for medical or dental treatment and go to a doctor, dentist or hospital and receive treatment at no cost. This is NOT the case in Canada .
All International Exchange Students studying at the University of Calgary need to make certain they have adequate medical insurance to cover any medical care while they are here. If students do not have an insurance plan they will be responsible for paying all costs for medical treatment themselves.
For most exchange students, the simplest choice (and the one the Centre for International Students and Study Abroad recommends strongly) is to purchase a medical insurance plan in their home country. Please keep this in mind as you read the details below and try to decide if this is the case for you or if you fit any of the other categories of choice below.
If you obtain a Study Permit for at least 12 months (365 days or more), you will have access to the provincial plan called the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) which is the basic insurance coverage for all Albertans. This plan covers visits to the doctor, laboratory tests, as well as hospital costs should you be admitted to hospital. The cost is free as of January 2009.
A visit to a doctor can cost $25 - $35 or more and a hospital stay can cost more than $1000 per day. A student who does not have medical insurance would be required to pay the entire bill for these medical services. AHCIP does not cover prescription drugs, rehabilitation needs, dental services or ambulance transport; therefore, as an International Exchange Student, even if you are eligible for AHCIP, you may still want to consider purchasing additional coverage.
Students who are ineligible to obtain coverage under AHCIP must purchase a private plan through an insurance company or agent, in their home country or on arrival in Canada . We strongly recommend that you purchase a plan in your home country prior to arrival in Canada .
If you do arrive in Canada without insurance coverage, medical insurance providers are authorized to provide this service to those who apply within 5 days of arriving in Canada. An updated list is available at the Centre for International Students and Study Abroad.