PharmaCare for International Students

MSP and PharmaCare for International Students in Vancouver, Surrey, Langley and all over BC.

All International Students need to have MSP and pay for its fees. You can also benefit from discounts on drugs with PharmaCare. Please read this article to learn about its cost and coverage.

Read time for this article is 5 – 7 minutes.

Firstly, International students in British Columbia have to pay for BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). This will provide coverage for necessary healthcare services. MSP will also allow you to be eligible for BC’s Fair PharmaCare program. In addition, MSP offers partial coverage on prescription drugs based on your income.

How much is MSP for international students?

International students coming to British Columbia to attend school must enroll in the province’s Medical Services Plan, including all K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. This costs $75 per month and covers all essential healthcare services, as well as physicians and surgeons.

This fee has changed in recent years. On January 1, 2020, the province of British Columbia eliminated MSP premiums for BC residents, while simultaneously doubling the rates for international students. The previous rate of $37.50 per month changed to the current rate of $75 per month.

What is PharmaCare?

Canada has a universal healthcare system. But unlike most other countries with such healthcare systems, our country does not automatically cover the costs of prescription drugs, medical supplies or pharmacy services. Instead, many Canadians pay for medications out-of-pocket. Additionally, you can have supplemental health plans through private insurance companies, which help pay for essential medications obtained at pharmacies.

Fair PharmaCare

Fair PharmaCare is an income-based program that helps BC residents pay for certain prescription drugs and medical supplies. This ensures that no British Columbia residents will face catastrophic medication costs, regardless of their financial situation. Also, the program is income-based, meaning that families with lower incomes will receive more financial help from Fair PharmaCare. In contrast, families with larger incomes will pay a higher amount out-of-pocket. However, Families, not individuals, determine coverage: A single person without a spouse or common-law partner, who is not dependent and doesn’t have any dependent children, is considered a family.

International students are eligible for the Fair PharmaCare program, provided that they have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and Personal Health Number. You must provide your net family income from two years ago, so that the province may determine your need for financial assistance. Those who already have private health insurance coverage may still be eligible for Fair PharmaCare.

Register for Fair PharmaCare today!

New residents who have not yet filed a tax return in Canada can phone 1-800-663-7100 to request an affidavit form (HLTH 5357). You will need to notarize and submit the tax return before applying for Fair PharmaCare.

What is covered?

  • Eligible prescription drugs, up to a certain amount (the exact amount covered will differ depending on the drug)
  • Certain medical devices
  • Some pharmacy services
  • Certain pharmacy dispensing fees, up to $10 per fee

IME Clinic Inc. is based in the Lower Mainland, BC, offering Immigration Medical Exams (IME) and Student Medical Exams (SME). The IME is a required part of the Canadian immigration process. Please note that MSP does not cover IME or SME fees. The doctors we work with have a flat fee of $260/Adult and $200/Child (under 15 years old) for IME. This does not include blood tests or x-rays performed at other clinics (Lifelabs and Downtown Radiology, respectively).

For Student Medical Exam (SME), the cost is $195 and doesn’t require an x-ray or a blood test. If you wish to have a blood test done for an STI check, you can ask the doctor for a requisition during your SME.

Contact Us to get started. We serve clients throughout the Lower Mainland and across Canada from multiple locations in Greater Vancouver.

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