- IHI Coverage
- Accessing Health Care
- RAMQ (Quebec Health Insurance)
- IHI Travel Coverage Updates
- COVID-19 Related Care
1. I am arriving in Canada before the beginning of my first term, can I opt-in into McGill’s International Health Insurance (IHI) plan?
Yes: New students get 2 complimentary weeks of coverage prior to the start of their first term at McGill. To obtain the complimentary coverage please activate your IHI coverage on Minerva.
2. If I arrive in Canada early, can I purchase private health insurance coverage?
If you are an international student and/or your dependents who is/are arriving in Canada more than 2 weeks before the start of your first term and require health insurance coverage, you may purchase a plan for visitors. This plan can be purchased from Quebec Blue Cross. For more information and to purchase this plan, please review the Blue Cross website .
3. I am coming to Canada with my dependents, when do I add them to my plan?
You may add your dependents upon arrival in Canada by contacting international.health [at] mcgill.ca (ISS).
4. I am a first-year international student and my spouse is pregnant. Will the Dependent coverage plan cover any maternity expenses once we arrive in Canada?
Yes, but coverage is limited. If you or your spouse were not insured by the Medavie Blue Cross International Health Insurance plan or by a similar benefit from a group insurance plan offered by a recognized Canadian educational institution during the previous academic year, maternity benefits - including delivery - are insured if normal delivery takes place during the first 30 weeks following initial registration in the plan up to a maximum of $10,000. 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.
5.Is pregnancy covered under the international health insurance plan?
YES. Most prenatal-related expenses and delivery, including midwife services, 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 10 of the Medavie Blue Cross Handbook.
6.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 Medavie Blue Cross Handbook page 6 for more details.
7.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 studentcare.ca. International Student Services is not involved in the administration of Student Societies dental plans.
8. Is there a co-payment or deductible amount that students have to pay?
Medavie Blue Cross (insurance company) reimburses students’ medical expenses according to the Quebec rate meaning that if you use a “public” hospital or the Student Wellness Hub, Medavie Blue Cross will reimburse that expense according to the Quebec rate. If you go to 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 full reimbursement for your medical expenses. We recommend always checking your coverage limitations with the Medavie Blue Cross insurance provider before setting up your visit at an off-campus clinic. Medavie Blue Cross customer service can be reached at 1-888-873-9200.
Please note, that hospitals in the Montreal area and the Student Wellness Hub invoice Medavie Blue Cross directly.
9. My doctor advised me that I will need 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 the terms of payment. A Pre-Authorization Request form must be filled out prior to any planned hospitalizations or surgeries and sent to Medavie Blue Cross. Failure to submit this form will automatically result in a denial of the claim.
10. 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 the ISS website under Health Insurance Menu no later than September 30 (Fall Term) or January 30 (Winter Term) or May 31 (Summer term).
11. 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 active student status during the summer term, regardless of whether they are registered in courses or not during the summer term.
Accessing Health Care
1. Where can I see a doctor?
The Student Wellness Hub has clinicians including doctors for you to see. Telehealth is also a great option as an International student. To learn more about support and services, or to book an appointment call the Student Wellness Hub during business hours. For off-campus support and resources, visit the off-campus care page for the Health and Wellness Map, information on navigating healthcare in Quebec and a list of service providers. Please be aware, due to government policy that a limited number of appointments with Hub doctors are available to students. Please explore the wide variety of all the resources the Hub has to offer.
If you’re unsure where to start, Access Advisors and Local Wellness Advisors offer a great first step towards accessing care, whether on or off-campus.
Please be aware, due to government policy that a limited number of appointments with Hub doctors are available to students. Please explore the wide variety of all the resources the Hub has to offer.
If you’re unsure where to start, Access Advisors and Local Wellness Advisors offer a great first step towards accessing care, whether on or off-campus
2. I need a prescription right away. Are there online doctors available?
Yes, Connect with Canadian doctors for online medical care from your phone, tablet or computer through Maple.
RAMQ (Quebec Health Insurance)
1. I am eligible for RAMQ coverage. However, I will not be able to provide proof of the RAMQ in time due to the processing delays.
Since RAMQ is currently experiencing 60 days of processing delays, we would like to offer you the following two options:
1. Activate International Health Insurance (IHI) coverage on Minerva. Once you obtain your RAMQ coverage and share it with us, we will process an exemption from IHI for future terms, starting with the Summer 2023 term. This way you will have health insurance coverage while you wait to obtain RAMQ coverage. In this case, you will have to pay your IHI fee at the same time as your tuition fees, i.e. January 5th, 2023 or on the due date of your first eBill.
2. Request an exemption from IHI on Minerva by the January 5th deadline and apply for RAMQ coverage. McGill Student Accounts will provide an exceptional fee deferral of the IHI fee until March 31st, 2023. In this situation, you will be responsible for any medical expenses that may arise while you wait for RAMQ coverage.
If you chose Option 2 you must apply for an exemption on Minerva on the student menu and choose “Social Security Agreement” as your exemption type. Within a week, the fee deferral on IHI fee will be automatically placed on your student fee account and will end on March 3rd, 2023. You will be issued an ebill on March 6th, 2023, with no more deferral and insurance fees must therefore be paid by the March 31st, 2023, payment due date. If documents are submitted prior to March 31st, 2023 to prove that you are covered under RAMQ, an exemption for the IHI will be applied to your fee account and the amount will no longer be owed. In order to be eligible for a fee deferral on IHI fee, you must have requested an exemption on Minerva by January 5th, 2023. If you apply for an exemption between January 6 – January 31, you may be subject to interest on any unpaid insurance amount (and any other amounts that were billed and remain unpaid) in January.
To apply for RAMQ coverage, please review RAMQ website.
Due to the RAMQ processing delays, our office will still be accepting RAMQ documents after the exemption deadlines and you will have until April 30th, 2023. If you are submitting your documents after the deadline, our office will require your RAMQ confirmation letter (which includes the start date and end date of coverage), not just your RAMQ card.
It is also important to note that our office will only be able to provide a full credit, if you did not use the IHI plan and you were covered by RAMQ from the date you entered Canada.
2. As a French national, I am eligible for RAMQ and the prescription drug plan. Is it advisable to opt-in to my Student Society's Supplemental Health plan?
YES. We recommend opting in to your Student Society's Supplemental Health plan (SSMU, PGSS or MACES) as it is a supplemental health insurance plan that will cover other expenses that are not covered under the RAMQ provincial plan. You can also review what RAMQ provincial plan actually covers and what the Student Society's Health plan covers additionally.
Opt-in to the SSMU, PGSS or MACES plan normally happens at the end of August and throughout September - online (studentcare.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, 10 other countries in addition to France that have a reciprocal social security 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.
IHI Travel Coverage Updates
All international students who are currently residing in Canada have access to full travel benefits.
Please note that to qualify for travel coverage, before departure you must not have COVID-19 symptoms, have not tested positive (or be awaiting a test result), and have not been in contact with anyone who tested positive in the last 14 days.
If you plan to travel outside of Canada, here are some important things to note about your travel health insurance coverage under the IHI plan:
This refers to any travel, for leisure purposes, outside of Canada and outside your country of origin.
For leisure travel of up to 4 consecutive weeks per trip, you are covered for emergency medical expenses and hospitalization. All details of the leisure travel benefits can be found on our website.
For any leisure travel for more than 4 weeks, you are only covered for emergencies resulting in hospitalization (must be admitted as an in-patient), up to $2,000 CAD funds per day for all services combined as specified in the Medavie Blue Cross contract.
Country of origin travel:
This refers to travel to your country of origin, for some students this will be your country of citizenship. If you are a dual citizen, your country of origin will be the country where you were last residing before entering Canada.
For travel in your country of origin, you are only covered for emergencies resulting in hospitalization (must be admitted as an in-patient), up to $2,000 CAD per day for all services combined as specified in the Medavie Blue Cross contract.
Study Related Trip:
Your IHI plan can be extended at no additional cost to the student to cover expenses related to Emergency Medical Care, Basic Health and Supplementary Health benefits, as well as Accidental Dismemberment and Repatriation, for international students participating in a study away program. In order to extend your IHI benefits, please fill out and submit the Study Away webform prior to your travel.
International students are eligible if they meet the following criteria:
- You are a student registered at McGill University, covered under McGill’s International Student Health Insurance plan - contract no. 95258
- You are participating in a study away program* in a country other than Canada or your country of origin.
You may also enroll your dependent(s) in the Plan, namely your spouse and dependent child(ren).
*Study away program includes study abroad, exchange programs, research trips, conferences, internships and field study programs.
COVID-19 Coverage outside of Canada
Eligible emergency hospital and medical expenses related to COVID-19 are now covered outside of Canada* as long as you did not have symptoms of COVID-19, have not tested positive for COVID-19 (or awaiting a test result) and have not been in contact with anyone who tested positive in the last 14 days before leaving Canada.
COVID-19 IHI FAQs
1. Does my IHI plan cover COVID-19 in Canada?
The International Health Insurance (IHI) plan covers hospitalization and treatment for COVID-19 in Canada. Please refer to the Basic Health Benefits on pages 7-9 in the Medavie Blue Cross handbook for details on this coverage.
Please note, COVID-19 testing is offered free of charge in Montreal at public testing sites. COVID-19 tests at private clinics are not covered under the IHI plan. COVID-19 tests for travel purposes are not covered under the IHI plan.
2. Can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine booster shot in Quebec if I got my other doses outside of Quebec?
Yes, on the clicsante.ca website under “Select a Service” you must select the COVID Vaccine – Troubleshooting. Here they explain that you can use this service to book a 3rd dose appointment when the portal cannot identify you.
You can select this option and should be able to proceed to book an appointment. When filling out your personal information, please be sure to note that students that are covered under the IHI plan do not have a Quebec Health Insurance Number.
Please note there are several walk-in vaccinations clinics around Montreal that are offering the booster. You are not required to book an appointment in this case. Please be sure to bring your passport and proof of previous COVID-19 vaccine to your appointment.
3. I have received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine outside of Canada, can I receive the second dose in Canada?
If your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered outside Canada or Quebec, you can sign up at the Québec Vaccination Registry to receive the next dose in Québec if necessary. For more information, see the Vaccinated for COVID-19 outside Québec: using the Vaccination Registry page.
If the vaccine that was used for the first dose is not available at the vaccination centre at the time of the appointment, a different product may be used (ideally a vaccine based on the same technology. For example, if your first dose was with a Messenger RNA vaccine such as Moderna or Pfizer, the second dose should be with a Messenger RNA vaccine to the extent possible, and within the timeframe recommended by the Québec Immunization Protocol. The recommended timeframe window is available at COVID-19 vaccination.
Please note, Canada does not currently have data on the effects of mixing vaccines approved in countries outside of Canada with the vaccines available in Canada (Pfizer and Moderna).
4. Where can I find more information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Quebec?
This webinar recording provided by the Medical Director of the Student Wellness Hub, gives information on the COVID-19 Vaccines, specifically on the vaccines available in Canada and the rollout plan in Quebec.
Please visit the Quebec Government COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign website to find out more about how and when to make an appointment to get vaccinated.
5. When can I get vaccinated?
The Quebec Government COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign website has announced that all residents 5 years old and over are able to get vaccinated in Quebec.
6. I don't have RAMQ. Can I still get a vaccine?
Yes. When you sign up for a vaccine appointment on clicsante, the form will ask you for a RAMQ number. Instead, please click the box below that confirms that you do not have a RAMQ number.
Please note that in order to schedule a second dose through the Clicsante website without a RAMQ number, you will need to choose the "COVID-19 Troubleshooting" service instead of the "COVID-19 Second Dose" service. You can also find out more information about second doses from the McGill Vaccination page.