International Health Insurance - FAQs
Why did the IHI premium go up again this year?
Insurance premiums are determined by the insurance provider (Blue Cross) and are based on past claims experience. The upsurge of the premium reflects the increased use of the plan by international students, combined with an important increase of hospitalisation, labs and prescription drugs fees. This premium is collected by McGill and transferred entirely to Blue Cross. By comparison, a similar insurance plan is offered by the Quebec francophone Universities and their premium is more than $1000 per year. The mandatory drug plan (strictly for prescription drugs and not covering other medical services such as doctor visits, emergencies, surgeries, hospitalisation, etc…) offered by the Provincial Ministry of Health to all Quebec residents, costs over $700 per year. The cost of health care is very high in Quebec and Canada, but it is still much more accessible than in other countries.
I am an international student beginning my first semester at McGill University and my spouse is pregnant. If I will be enrolling into the Dependent coverage plan will any maternity expenses be covered once we arrive to Canada?
NO. If you or your spouse is pregnant before coming to McGill, all prenatal-related expenses - including delivery - will not be reimbursed. Please be aware that medical and hospital costs are extremely high for non-residents of Canada and financial plans should be made prior to your arrival to Canada.
Is pregnancy covered under international health insurance plan?
YES. Most prenatal-related expenses and delivery are covered under the international health insurance plan if the normal delivery takes place after the first 30 weeks of the initial registration to the international health insurance plan. For more details on the coverage related to pregnancy, please refer to page 8 of the Blue Cross Handbook
I have a pre-existing condition, are there any limitations to the insurance coverage that I should be aware of?
YES. Any expenses directly or indirectly related to a pre-existing condition are payable to a lifetime maximum of $10,000 for each pre-existing condition. Please refer to the Blue Cross Handbook page 5 for more details.
Are international students covered by a dental plan?
Yes, undergraduate international students are automatically covered by the SSMU Dental Plan or, for students enrolled in a program at the Macdonald Campus, the MCSS Dental Plan. Graduate international students have the PGSS Dental plan. Students wishing to opt out of the dental plan may do so at ihaveaplan.ca. International Student Services is not involved in the administration of Student Societies dental plans.
As a French national, I am eligible for the Quebec provincial health plan (RAMQ) and the prescription drug plan, and thus exempted from the international health insurance plan. Is it nevertheless advisable to opt-in to SSMU Health plan?
YES. We recommend to opt-in to the SSMU Health plan as it is a supplemental health insurance plan that will cover all other expenses that are not covered under the RAMQ provincial plan. You can also review what RAMQ provincial plan actually covers and what SSMU Health plan covers additionally.
Opt-in to the SSMU plan normally happens at the end of August and throughout September - online(ihaveaplan.ca), but be careful because if you miss the opt-in period you will not be able to opt-in until the next academic year.
There are actually, 8 other countries in addition to France that have a reciprocal social agreement with the province of Quebec and students from these countries are eligible for the provincial health plan. However, international students are NOT eligible for the prescription drug plan, with the exception of French students.
Is there a co-payment or deductible amount that students have to pay?
Blue Cross (insurance company) reimburses students’ medical expenses according to the Quebec rate meaning that if you use a “public” hospital or the McGill Health Clinic, Blue Cross will reimburse that expense according to the Quebec rate. If you choose to use a private clinic or off-campus clinic the rates tend to be higher than what a “public” institution would charge therefore you will not get a full reimbursement for your medical expenses. We recommend to always check your coverage limitations with the Blue Cross insurance provider before setting-up your visit at an off-campus clinic. Blue Cross customer service can be reached at 1-888-588-1212.
Please note, that hospitals in the Montreal area or the McGill Health Clinics invoice Blue Cross directly.
My doctor advised me that I will need a minor surgery, is there anything I should be aware of before the surgery takes place?
YES. A pre-authorization is mandatory in order to confirm coverage and validate terms of payment. A Pre-Authorization Request form must be filled out prior to any planned hospitalizations or surgeries and sent to Blue Cross. Failure to submit this form will automatically result in a denial of the claim.
Where can I see a doctor?
You can be seen by a doctor on the downtown campus at the McGill Student Health Service clinic. The clinic offers same-day appointments on the downtown campus Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Same-day appointments are intended for urgent cases, such as patients who have been injured or who are sick. You need to arrive to the clinic before 8 a.m. for an urgent drop-in appointment. For non-urgent cases, students can make an appointment by calling 514-398-6017.
The Macdonald Campus Health Service offers a drop-in clinic with a nurse. To make an appointment, please call 514-398-7992.
Outside of McGill Student Health Service hours, or if there are no appointments available when you needs it, it is suggested that you visit alternate clinics or hospitals in the Montreal area.
For students at Macdonald Campus:
Answers to frequent health questions regarding health services at Mac, please review the MAC website.
To visit a doctor outside the office hours of the on-campus clinics, please refer to the suggested list of off-campus clinics.
All students can speak with a public health nurse by calling Info-Santé at 8-1-1. The Info-Santé service is available 24 / 7.
I am a Canadian citizen but I have been living abroad. Is it mandatory for me to obtain International Health Insurance? Can I opt-in if I choose to?
If you are a Canadian citizen you do not need to be covered by the International Health Insurance plan, regardless of your place of residence.
However, non-resident Canadian students who are not eligible for a Canadian health plan and have no insurance coverage or whose private insurance is not sufficient, have the option of enrolling on McGill's International Student Health Insurance Plan. To do so they must complete an online registration form on ISS website under Health Insurance Menu no later than September 30 (Fall Term) or January 30 (Winter Term).
Why do I need to be covered during the summer term if I am not registered in any classes? (undergraduate student)
It is a requirement from Immigration Quebec that all international students maintain health and hospitalization insurance in Quebec during the entire validity period of your CAQ. All undergraduate students maintain an active student status during the summer term, regardless whether they are registered in courses or not during the summer term.
If I come back home for a visit during the holidays or a scheduled break, do I have any health insurance coverage?
The International health insurance benefits are provided on a 24-hour basis, twelve months a year, worldwide. However, coverage while outside Canada is limited to emergencies only and up to a maximum of $2,000 per day for all services combined (maximum of $150,000 CAD per contract year). Reimbursements are made in Canadian currency according to the exchange rate of the day the claim is processed and in accordance with the Quebec Provincial Schedule of fees.
Since you will only be covered for emergencies while you are abroad, you may want to purchase additional travel insurance.