At NIC, we know that health and safety are a key to your sense of belonging and well-being as a student here. As international students, there is some information that is unique to you.
Please see our Medical Insurance for International Students for a full overview of the medical insurance requirements.
All international students are required by law to have medical insurance while studying in British Columbia. Health care services in Canada can be very expensive and it is mandatory to have insurance coverage. A standard visit to the emergency room at a British Columbia hospital costs $750 PLUS charges for additional tests. It is the student's responsibility to have adequate medical insurance while in Canada. There are three types of medical insurance that apply to international students:
When you arrive as a new international student you are automatically enrolled in the https://www.guard.me/nic plan as part of your tuition. Coverage is effective immediately upon your arrival to NIC. The guard.me@NIC plan will cover you during the waiting period for BC MSP (see next column).
- new and unexpected illness or injury, and unexpected emergency relating to a pre-existing medical condition
- doctor and hospital visits
- emergency transportation
- annual non-emergency doctor’s visit
- x-ray, lab testing
FAST FACTS ABOUT GUARD ME:
- The charges for your 90-day Guard Me plan are collected and included in your tuition deposit for fee paying international students.
- The cost for 90 days of Guard Me is $175.50.
- Exchange students will have the charge applied to their student account after arrival and must pay accordingly. Exchange students will be enrolled for the full semester and charges will be rated at $1.95/day with a small admin fee. Charges on account will vary dependent on exchange students end date of studies and return to home country date.
- Opt outs will only be considered for students who have active MSP. There will be no other exemptions.
- For more information on Guard Me please see www.guard.me/nic
After you arrive at NIC, you will be sent information from our office with instruction on how to apply for MSP. MSP (or the Medical Services Plan of BC) is a provincial health care plan and it is required for all international students at NIC. It is your responsibility to ensure you apply for, pay for and keep your MSP current. The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) will cover you for the remainder of your time studying at NIC. Students studying for more than three months on a study permit MUST enroll in BC MSP. There is approximately a three-month waiting period before your MSP coverage can begin, during which students are covered by the guard.me@NIC plan. Students should apply for MSP as soon as they arrive in Canada. There will be some overlap between coverage of Guard Me and MSP plans, this cannot be prevented.
- doctor visits
- hospital visits
FAST FACTS ABOUT MSP:
- You can apply for MSP online.
- The cost of MSP for an international student is approximately $75.00 per month. You must pay these fees directly to the Province of BC. NIC does not collect for these fees.
- Exchange students and students on visitor’s visas need not apply for MSP.
- MSP coverage is valid until your study permit expiry date. If you need to extend your study permit during your program, you will need to re-apply with MSP. Any students who do not have valid or current MSP will be re-enrolled on a Guard Me plan by the OGE, charges will be added to your account and your account will be locked until the fees have been paid and you have provided proof of current MSP enrollment.
You are automatically enrolled in the Students’ Union’s Green Shield health and dental plan when you register in courses. This benefit package is only required and provided to students who are in full-time programming for more than one semester. (Exchange students will not qualify). For students in full-time programs 6 months or longer:
- dental benefits
- health benefits
- travel benefits
- vision benefits
FAST FACTS ABOUT GREENSHIELD:
Please book your appointment online or contact Student Services to make an appointment:
- Campbell River/Mixalakwila: 250-923-9700 or toll-free 1-800-715-0914
- Comox Valley: 250-334-5000 or toll-free 1-800-715-0914
- Port Alberni: 250-724-8711 or toll-free 1-800-715-0914
For additional or after-hours support, the following resources are available:
- Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
- Vancouver Island Crisis Text: 250-800-3806
- meSAFE: This is a program set up specifically for NIC international students. You can receive support in multiple languages 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and 365 days per year.
For students in Canada and the US call: 1.844.451.9700
- Here2Talk: Here2Talk connects students with mental health support when they need it. Through this program, all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution have access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone and web. This service is available to you anywhere in the world if you are a currently enrolled international student at NIC.
Canada-wide toll free, dial: 1-877-857-3397
Canada-wide direct, dial: 604-642-5212
If you are accessing from outside Canada. International calling charges may apply, dial: +1-604-642-5212
For those who have general questions, please contact our Student Life department:
Each community with an NIC campus has options for you to see a doctor for non-urgent care. Many students use walk-in clinics in their community, as walk-in clinics do not require appointments.
A walk-in clinic allows you to see the doctor on duty but there is no guarantee you will see the same doctor the next time you go in. If you have a condition in which you need to see a doctor on a regular basis, you will need to find a new doctor accepting new patients. A good place to find out which doctors are accepting new patients is the walk-in clinics. Please ask them directly and they will be able to provide you with this option.
Many students are now using Mobile Doctors. Mobile doctors are a “virtual” doctor. You do not have to leave your home. You can meet with at doctor through a phone appointment.
If you are still enrolled in Guard Me, you can use their mobile doctor program: https://www.guard.me/nic/mobiledoctor
If you are no longer on Guard Me you can access the following mobile doctor program provided through Green Shield students: https://goevisit.com/
You can also call 8-1-1 if you are unsure whether you need to see a doctor or not. This is a pre-screening call and a medical practitioner will assess your need on the telephone to determine if you need to see a doctor.
Just remember, if you, or someone in your care, has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life threatening. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911.
The emergency room at the hospital should be used for very serious situations including severe pain, inability to breathe and bleeding that will not stop. If you are not sure if you should go to the emergency room, call the BC Nurse Line Toll Free at: 1-866-215-4700 to ask for advice. Be sure to bring the following with you:
- Medical Insurance
- Documentation Card
- Money or other payment method (just in case)
Reminder, cell phone use is often not permitted in hospitals and clinics. Please be sure to check for signs on use of phones when visiting these facilities.
North Island Hospital Comox Valley
101 Lerwick Road, Courtenay, BC, V9N 9H1
Emergency room open 24 hours a day
Campbell River Hospital
375 2nd Ave, Campbell River, BC V9W 3V1
Emergency room open 24 hours a day
West Coast General Hospital
3949 Port Alberni Highway, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 4S1
Emergency room open 24 hours a day