University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) | Manulife/Cowan


Manulife Financial (Cowan) is the provider of the University Health Insurance Plan. UHIP provides coverage for international non-residents, employees, students, visitors and their accompanying families who are not eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). UHIP covers you for many of the same services covered by OHIP; however, it does not offer the exact same coverage as OHIP. Participation in UHIP is mandatory for anyone who has a formalized relationship with the University of Waterloo and who is not eligible for OHIP. You are eligible for OHIP if your appointment is for 6 months or greater. You are required under the terms of your study/employment relationship to have health insurance to pay the cost of health care services and medical treatments while in Ontario. UHIP must be purchased for any period greater than three weeks for which provincial health insurance is not applicable. 

UHIP applies to:

  • international students studying in Ontario (Student UHIP is managed by Student Financial Services – email,

  • international employees working in Ontario who are not eligible in Provincial Health Coverage (OHIP),

  • family members of international students and employees who are not eligible for Provincial Health Coverage (OHIP),  

  • short-term visitors such as IVGS/Visiting Scholars associated with a participating university. 

Since the plan is compulsory, eligible participants should not purchase another health insurance plan to cover them while in Canada.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

  1. For international visitors with an appointment shorter than 6 months and their eligible dependants, please complete a UHIP application.
  2. For international visitors with an appointment for 6 months or longer and a valid work permit, please apply for OHIP at Service Ontario.
  3. For graduate students who have extended their student UHIP for 4 months post graduation, please contact to cancel your student UHIP coverage – this only covers medical emergencies - and enroll in UHIP as an employee. 
  4. For employees whose University of Waterloo appointment has ended and UHIP coverage has expired, please research and purchase private health insurance.

Coverage starts on the date you arrive in Canada, or the 10th of the month before your studies or employment starts, whichever is later. If you arrive in Canada before you’re eligible for UHIP, you must buy private medical insurance until your UHIP start date. Example:

Arrival in Canada August 5
Start of your studies or employment September 1
Buy private medical insurance August 5 – 9
Start of UHIP coverage August 10

Step 2: Enrollment

University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)

Employees and visitors are required to enroll into the UHIP plan once you arrive in Canada. Your dependents must enroll within 30 days of their initial arrival in Canada. If you enroll or re-enroll your dependents more than 30 days after your initial date of arrival in Canada, or after your previous UHIP coverage expires, the late dependent enrolment administrative fee of$500 per dependent and other conditions will apply. 

To initiate your enrollment, please complete the UHIP Enrollment Form via our Jira portal linked below

Plan Details

UHIP provides coverage for eligible health services and medical treatments that are medically necessary up to an annual maximum of $1,000,000.00 (Canadian dollars) per policy year (September 1 to August 31).This includes Hospital Services, Physician Services, Laboratory & Diagnostic Tests.

While most services are fully covered under the plan with no additional cost to you, some medical professionals may bill you for more than the UHIP reimbursement rate. In these cases, you will be responsible to pay the difference between the two amounts. You can check the Cowan Preferred Provider Network starting August 10, for a list of providers who will send the bill directly to Cowan, and not charge you more than the UHIP reimbursement rate. The University also has a Family Health Clinic right on campus.

Some services and treatments need pre-approval from Cowan before you incur the service or treatment. Call Cowanat 1-833-377-8447 prior to incurring any service or treatment that requires pre-approval. If you don’t get pre-approval, UHIP may not cover you for these services. You will have to pay the cost yourself.

IMPORTANT: You must notify Cowan within 48 hours of any hospital stay expected to last more than 72 hours.

For specific coverage details, please visit the UHIP website.

Who to contact with questions?

When to Contact your University UHIP Plan Administrator

Please contact your University of Waterloo UHIP Plan Administrator for the following reasons:

  • Enrolling your dependents,
  • Changing your coverage (such as extensions or terminating coverage early),
  • Applying for a refund of premiums, or
  • To update your name, date of birth, email or address

Human Resources can be contacted by email at or by phone at ext. 45935.

When to Contact Cowan

When contacting Cowan, you will be asked to confirm your UHIP member ID. Cowan can be contacted by phone at Toll-Free 1-833-377-8447 or by email at

  • Information about what is covered under UHIP
  • How to submit a claim
  • Information about your UHIP claim

 Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)

With an appointment greater than 6 months and a valid work permit, you can be eligible for OHIP. Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is paid through taxes. Through OHIP, the province pays for many of the health services you may need. You need to apply and, once you’re approved, you’ll get an Ontario health card. Please visit the Ontario website for details.  

Ontario has waived the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. The province also covers the cost of COVID-19 services if you are uninsured and do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage. If you are self-isolating and cannot go to Service Ontario to register for coverage, please contact Service Ontario INFOline at 1-866-532-3161. INFOline staff will advise on next steps as appropriate. You must apply for OHIP in person at a Service Ontario centre (hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm).   

Once your appointment has been processed in Workday, please update your personal details and address during your onboarding process. You need to generate an employment letter for yourself in Workday which you have to present to Service Ontario while applying for OHIP. To generate your own letter of employment, please follow these steps on your Workday account from the request employment letter user guide. If you search for “Request Reference Letter” in the search bar from your home page, follow the steps and it should create a letter for you. This may be found in your Personal Documents section later on.  

If you are not receiving a salary and have not been set up on Workday by Human Resources, please reach out to your department as they can sponsor a WatIAM for you, or create an employment letter.

If your spouse is coming to Ontario with you, and doesn't have a work permit of their own, they are still eligible for OHIP if you are. If you are on a closed work permit, you will need to list your spouse as "accompanying family" on your OHIP application. If you are on an open work permit, your spouse will need to submit their own OHIP application at a Service Ontario location. Along with the listed documents required here, your spouse will need to bring your valid work permit to show OHIP eligibility, as well as a marriage certificate or declaration of common-law status (notarized translation to English or French if needed) if your spouse is not already named on the Remarks section of your work permit. Contact Service Ontario for further information. 

How is UHIP/OHIP different from University of Waterloo benefits?

Every person living in Canada must have coverage for primary healthcare services, such as hospital, physician, surgery, and medical testing. Ontario residents have OHIP which is the mandatory government health insurance plan. International students/visitors/employees who are not eligible for OHIP, access comparable coverage through the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). OHIP/UHIP cover you for the services that are medically necessary such as:

  • Hospital visits

  • Physician services

  • Laboratory and diagnostic tests

Your UW Extended Health benefit is designed to help cover the cost of necessary health care expenses which are not covered by OHIP/UHIP. Benefit includes prescription drug coverage, paramedical services, hospital/ambulance coverage and medical equipment/supplies. View the Extended Healthcare benefit page for more information on out-of-pocket cap, drug coverage, and predetermination of coverage.