FAQ-Student Medical

Medical Insurance and Coverage - Frequently Asked Questions


What is MSP?
MSP (Medical Services Plan) is a BC public health insurance. It is administrated by BC government. It covers the cost of medically-necessary insured doctor services. Under the governments Medicare Protection Act, MSP is mandatory for all eligible residents and their dependents.

Who is eligible for MSP?
A student has a valid study and/or work permits for six (6) months or more. Tourists and visitors to B.C. do not qualify.

Am I enrolled with MSP automatically? 
No, all individuals must complete an application. The easiest way to apply is online and you should apply for MSP coverage soon after arriving in B.C., rather than at the end of the wait period because processing takes about 21 business days. 

What is the MSP wait period?
New residents (international students) are required to complete a wait period consisting of the balance of the month in which residence in British Columbia is established, plus two months before benefits can begin.
An example of the wait period is, if you arrived in BC on Aug 28, your wait period would be August, September, October. Your MSP coverage will start as of November 1st. 

What happens if I do not apply for MSP?
Okanagan College will auto-renew your Guard.me medical insurance each semester.

If I applied for MSP a month ago and haven’t received my MSP card. What should I do?
You need to contact Service BC at 250-861-7500 and check if they have the correct current mailing address.

What are MSP premiums and how much does it cost?
Residents of British Columbia (including students with a study permit) must pay health fee for MSP coverage. As of January 2020 these health fees are set by the BC Government at $75 (individual international students) per month and billed to your residential address by Services BC. 

If you change your address, please update your new address with MSP at this link: https://my.gov.bc.ca/msp/account/prepare

Why do I need Guard.me medical insurance if I am eligible for MSP?
Okanagan College requires all international students to be covered by accepted medical coverage. The Guard.me medical insurance is designed to cover you while you are on the MSP 3 month wait period and not yet covered by MSP.

What if I already have MSP when I arrive at OC? Can I cancel my Guard.me coverage and get a refund?
Yes, you will need to upload proof of MSP coverage to www.guard.me/oc. Your MSP coverage must be effective before the start of the semester. The deadline to submit is the last day of the 1st month in the semester. For more information, please go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/intedmed. Once your submission is approved, the semester guard.me insurance fee will be reversed on your student account 6 weeks after start of semester.

If I did not use my guard.me policy, can I get a refund?
No. The policy is considered used because you had the benefit of the coverage even though no claims were made.

What do I need to do when I am planning to leave and then returning BC for more than 6 months or permanently?
If you are planning to leave BC for more than 6 months, you should contact MSP to confirm continued eligibility otherwise they may suspend your MSP. Please note that you must reactivate your MSP account after returning to BC from the extended leave. For more details, visit MSP website.

What do I need to do when I renew my study permit?
You can upload your new study permit at https://my.gov.bc.ca/msp/account/prepare
It will take about 21 business days for MSP to process this information. 

What are the Extended Health and Dental plan charges on my student financial account?
The Extended Health and Dental Plan (Green Shield/ Great-West Life) is additional coverage administered by your Student Union office (OCSU or VSAOC in Vernon). Enrollment and fees are mandatory for all full time academic students. However, if you are covered by an equivalent plan (such as by your employer), you can opt-out by going online. Note that Guard.me or MSP do not replace the Extended Health & Dental Plan.