Taking Care of Yourself with Your Student Health Benefits

Posted by Janet Nguyen on November 13, 2020

Mental Health & Wellbeing

We all know that going to university is a big step, and there’s so much to know and learn in addition to your coursework such as extended health benefits. That’s why we wanted to write an overview of these plans which are included in your course fees to provide you with the know-how to take care of yourself! 

Just remember, we are student bloggers, we’re not the authority on this. You can always reach out to YFS at healthplan@yfs.ca for any questions regarding the plan. For international students with questions about their coverage and UHIP, you can email uhip@yorku.caGraduate students can email health@yugsa.caRemember to include your student number. 

What Are Benefits?

Benefits provide additional health coverage for things like dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists and prescription medication. What benefits do is provide you with additional health insurance that pays for some of these services.

York Federation of Students Health Plan for Undergraduate Students

Did you know that your undergraduate fees include the York Federation of Students (YFS) Health & Dental Plan? This group plan provides you access to additional health benefits that assist with the costs of things like a dental cleaning or a vision check-up.

The YFS Health Plan’s insurance provider is Green Shield Canada (GSC). This is who you will make claims through. GSC then approves this claim and reimburses you the money for the service.


That is one way to use the service. You pay upfront and get reimbursed. The other way is through direct billing, whichis only provided by some healthcare providers. For direct billing, the service provider will submit your claim directly to GSC on your behalf. If there is any portion of the expense not covered by the plan you will pay that directly to the provider.

Make sure you look at the YFS Health Plan for the services and costs covered!

If you have your own additional private coverage you can combine this with your student plan and maximize your benefits, so make sure you check out your plans. This is called coordination of benefits and can help you save even more. Alternatively, if you have your own plan and don’t want to coordinate benefits, there is a window of time in which you can opt out of the YFS plan. For student enrolled in fall or full-year courses that deadline has now passed, but students beginning their studies in January 2020-2021 will have an opt-out window at the beginning of the term.

Additional Benefits

This isn’t the most fun part to discuss about benefits, but they also provide for you in the case of an accident or injury. There is also additional travel medical coverage if you need to travel outside of Canada (but honestly, who is doing that right now?) You can read the detailed benefit booklet for more information. 

University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) for International Students

For students from outside of Canada, here’s the information you’re looking for. If you fall into one of the following categories, it’s mandatory for you to have UHIP coverage:

  • International students with a valid study permit who are registered as active in a degree program.
  • Incoming exchange students.
  • Dependent(s), spouse and/or children, of eligible students.
  • International Visiting Research Trainees with a valid work permit.

If you have questions, about accessing Ontario health care, making claims and UHIP coverage, check out the detailed FAQs on the UHIP website. Make sure you click on the category that best describes you because there is comprehensive info for each category.

Important Note for 2020/2021: Since a lot of international students are not in Canada this year, the UHIP process is a bit different. Please pay attention to the ‘UHIP Info for 2020/21’ section on the website, where you will find FAQs dedicated to all the changes that are happening this academic year.

The York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA) Health Plan

Graduate Students are covered under the YUGSA supplemental health and dental plan which is designed to provide comprehensive and low-cost coverage to students for prescription drugs, dental, vision care, extended health services and travel insurance. The plan is compulsory for all full-time graduate students without comparable coverage for drugs AND dental. The plan is optional for those registered in part-time studies. Make sure you look on the YUGSA Website for details on the plan. For any further questions reach out to them at health@yugsa.ca and include your student number.

The Importance of Your Health

We all know how stressful this time of year can be, in addition to COVID-19 concerns, and that physical and mental health can take a backseat when there are essays due and exams coming up. In addition to basic health, dental and prescription coverage, your student health plan can also assist with costs for some psychology, counselling and social work expenses.

Also, remember that Student Counselling & Development is continuing to offer individual remote single-session counselling and telephone support at 416-736-5297, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They have also provided a suite of COVID-19 mental health resources to help you prioritize your mental health and wellbeing and access additional community supports.

Glendon Campus students can access individual counseling through Glendon’s Accessibility, Well-Being and Counselling.

We hope that this overview has helped unveil any mystery surrounding health insurance.

Oh, and don’t forget to floss daily!

Was this post helpful? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @YorkUStudents.

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Janet Nguyen
Janet Nguyen

Janet Nguyen is a third-year Creative Writing and Screenwriting double major at York University. She loves to spend time playing with her kitten, Bean; cook vegetarian food; read all kinds of books, play Animal Crossing, and of course, write. She hopes her blog posts can help students navigate their way through this school year!

See other posts by Janet Nguyen

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