If you are coming to UBC from outside of BC (and within Canada) or outside Canada, you and your eligible dependents must complete a waiting period for MSP.
The waiting period consists of the balance of the month in which residence in British Columbia is established, plus two months. Generally, the date residence is established is the date of arrival in BC, however this is determined by the Ministry of Health based on a number of factors, including the type of immigration status held. For more information, visit the Health Insurance BC website.
If you are coming to BC from another Canadian province or territory, you should maintain your coverage with your former provincial medical plan during this MSP waiting period. This will ensure you are covered for any medically necessary physician and hospital services by your former province as you wait for your MSP coverage to start.
If you are coming to BC from outside of Canada, you should arrange for private coverage during the MSP waiting period. Faculty and staff employed or appointed by the university from outside Canada can purchase private coverage during the waiting period through the David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) or Sun Life so that you will be reimbursed for medical claims.
Do I need private coverage?
If you are a new or returning resident coming to BC from outside Canada, you should arrange for private coverage during the period you are waiting for your BC Medical Services Plan coverage to become effective. Normally, the waiting period consists of the balance of the month of your arrival, plus two months. If you are a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit please review the section below for additional information and the requirements for private medical coverage.
When and how do I arrange for private coverage?
Make arrangements for private coverage as soon as you arrive in Canada. If you are a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit, you must have private coverage in place on the day you arrive in Canada (please review the section below for private coverage options that are available on the date of arrival).
We have presented two options below, but you can make arrangements with other private insurance agencies. No matter which insurance policy you purchase, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the details of the plan before you buy it.
Purchasing private coverage through David Cummings Insurance Services
David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) is an insurance brokerage specializing in health insurance. DCIS offers a range of temporary private health insurance options to cover the MSP waiting period, including an emergency medical plan that is offered at a discounted rate for UBC faculty and staff (includes Visiting Faculty).
This plan generally has some limitations for coverage of pre-existing medical conditions and on coverage for pregnancy and childbirth. However, there are coverage options available and it is important for you to discuss your particular circumstances with the DCIS agent to ensure you get the right coverage for you and your dependents.
- Submit a quotation request form or contact a DCIS agent for more information or to enrol in the plan.
- Advise DCIS of your UBC employment/affiliation so they incorporate the rate for the discounted plan called the “Visitors to Canada Plan for Non-Student Affiliates of a Canadian Educational Institution.”
If you decide to purchase a plan from DCIS, you pay them the full cost. For information on rates, contact DCIS directly.
If you are a faculty member, you may be eligible for reimbursement from the UBC Relocation Fund. For more information, contact the Administrator in your hiring Department or Faculty.
If you are a staff member, you may be eligible for reimbursement depending on your employment group.
If you purchase this plan:
- your private plan with DCIS will begin on the day you arrive in Canada if you purchase it before you depart for Canada. Otherwise, if you purchase your private plan after arrival in Canada, the accident coverage starts on the date of purchase, and the sickness coverage would start after a waiting period (typically 48 hours after the policy start date). To avoid being uninsured for any amount of time in Canada, it is advisable to contact DCIS before travelling to Canada.
- your UBC Extended Health Plan that supplements your MSP coverage will begin once you have met the MSP waiting period and you have enrolled in the plan.
- your Dental Care coverage will begin on your date of hire and once you have enrolled in the plan.
Purchasing private coverage through Sun Life
Sun Life is UBC’s Extended Health and Dental benefits provider. The company also offers a private health insurance plan, called the Inpatriate Plan, that covers medical expenses during the MSP waiting period, including coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and pregnancy and childbirth for UBC faculty and staff (excludes those who are ineligible for UBC benefits such as Visiting Faculty and Adjunct Professors).
Since this plan is not available on your date of arrival to Canada, this arrangement may not be an appropriate option for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit as it doesn’t provide coverage from date of arrival in Canada.
If you decide to purchase a plan from Sun Life, your Department/Faculty will be charged the expense (Sun Life will not charge you). However, your Department/Faculty may require you to reimburse them for this cost. The current monthly rate is $183.00 (single); $366.00 (couple) and $549.00 (family).
If you purchase this plan:
- your Sun Life Inpatriate Plan will begin on your first day of employment at UBC (if you apply within 60 days of arriving in Canada).
- your UBC Extended Health Plan that supplements your MSP coverage and Dental Care coverage will begin on your date of hire and once you have enrolled in the plan.
In order to purchase the Inpatriate Plan, UBC Human Resources requires an emailed authorization from your Supervisor with the UBC ledger account, spend category and worktag that the premiums are to be paid from. Your Department or Supervisor should email the authorization to firstname.lastname@example.org as confirmation of payment of the premiums. Please note that without this confirmation you will be unable to purchase the Inpatriate Plan.
Note the following payment options that you should discuss with your department prior to enrolling and purchasing:
Your Department covers the cost of the Plan for you and reimburses Human Resources within 31 days of notification
Your Department submits payment on your behalf to Human Resources within 31 days of notification (in this event, you will be required to pay back your Department for these costs).
Once confirmation is received, you will be sent an application form. If you enrol within 60 days of your start date at UBC, you do not need to provide a Health Statement. However, if you enrol late, you (and your dependents) will be required to provide a Health Statement that is subject to review and approval by Sun Life. If you are applying for coverage for your dependents only, they will need to provide evidence of good health by submitting a Health Statement regardless of the timing of the application.
Note to Departments: once the amount of premiums owing has been reconciled with Sun Life, this amount will be processed in Workday by UBC Human Resources and forwarded to the department for approval.
When should I apply for MSP coverage?
You should apply for MSP coverage as soon as you arrive in BC rather than at the end of the waiting period. It is very important that you apply as soon as you arrive in BC to allow time for your application to be processed.
You can enrol for MSP directly with Health Insurance BC (administrator of MSP).
After your application has been processed by MSP, you will receive a health card called a BC Services Card with a unique lifetime identifier for health care called a Personal Health Number. If you are re-establishing residency in BC and previously received a Care Card, you will not receive a new one, as your former coverage will be reinstated.
What if I am a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit?
Effective September 26, 2022, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), if you are a TFW with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit, your department is obligated to pay for your private health insurance upon arrival to Canada. As noted in the above section Do I Need Private Coverage, UBC provides access to two private health insurance programs:
- David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS): available upon the day of arrival provided it is purchased in advance of arrival. This plan generally has some limitations for coverage of pre-existing medical conditions and on coverage for pregnancy and childbirth. However, there are coverage options available and it is important for you to discuss your particular circumstances with the DCIS agent to ensure you get the right coverage for you and your dependents.
- Sun Life Inpatriate Plan: available on date of hire provided application is made within 60 days of arrival to Canada.
Given that private health insurance coverage is required to be in place on your date of arrival, it is recommended that you apply for the private coverage provided through David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS). It is important that you apply and ensure you are covered for the David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) plan for your arrival well in advance of arriving in Canada. You can connect with your department to ensure payment to DCIS.
To ensure no gaps between the private and public health coverage, ensure you apply for BC Medical Services Plan public insurance as soon as you arrive (BC Government Website: How to Apply for MSP).
What if I have Implied status?
If you are working in British Columbia under a work permit and you are enrolled in MSP, your medical coverage will end at the end of the month that your work permit expires. If you have not received your new work permit prior to the expiry of your current one, we recommend that you purchase private coverage while you are on Implied Status (and not covered for MSP) if you have a pre-existing condition, pregnant (or your spouse is) or anticipate that you and/or your dependents will obtain doctor and/or hospital services and you do not want to wait until your new work permit is issued in order to be reimbursed. You can purchase private coverage through Sun Life. Click here to view the HR Benefits Memo on this topic.
Who do I contact for more information?
For information on MSP:
You can visit the MSP website at www.health.gov.bc.ca/msp.
David Cummings Insurance Ltd.:
David Cummings Insurance Ltd.
Toll-free (within North America): 1-800-818-3188
For information on the Sun Life Inpatriate Plan and all other questions:
UBC Human Resources, Benefits Administration