Health and wellness

Health Services on campus provides many resources to help you maintain your health while you study at the University of Waterloo. 

It is important that you arrange for insurance to cover health care costs as soon as you arrive in Waterloo. As a University of Waterloo student, you (and your family) must be covered by:

Learn more about what is covered by these plans and why you need both by comparing your health insurance plans

Health Services

Health Services is located across from the Student Life Centre. It offers full medical services to all students. If you have a medical emergency or a medical question or you would like to make an appointment to see a doctor, contact Health ServicesThere is also a pharmacy right on campus on the lower level of the Student Life Centre.

Your interactions with Health Services will be confidential. No information will be released without your signed consent, unless required by law.

If illness affects your academic standing, talk to your professor. Health Services can provide verification of your illness, but only if you were seen at Health Services for that illness.

Spouses and children of students, post-docs, and visiting scholars have access to an on-campus family doctor in the Family Health Clinic in the Health Services building.  We highly recommend your partner and children have a family doctor in case they need medical care in the future.  Visit the Health Services website for more information and how to register.

If your spouse and/or children need medical attention, you could also take them to a medical facility off-campus.  There are many walk-in clinics and urgent care clinics in the community that you can visit on weekends and when Health Services is not open. Walk-in clinics and urgent care clinics may charge medical fees beyond what is covered by the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).  Visit Health Services on campus when possible. We recommend bringing a UHIP claim form when you see a doctor off campus.  If you experience a life threatening emergency, call 911 or visit a hospital.

University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)

If you are a registered international student, then you will be automatically enrolled in University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).  Visit the UHIP website for coverage details.

Your UHIP premium will appear on your Quest student account. You must maintain continuous enrolment in UHIP, even if you leave Canada for a term at any point during the year.

Once you are Fees Arranged, Student Accounts will put you on the the next student enrolment list that is sent to the insurance company and will then send you an email with instructions on how to access your health insurance card online.

Undergraduate students will be assessed the UHIP premium on their student account in two payments - in September for the fall term, and in January for the winter and spring term.

Co-op students will usually be charged for their next upcoming co-op term with their current courses term.

Graduate and exchange students will be assessed the UHIP premium on their student account in three payments - in September for the fall term, in January for the winter term and in May for the spring term.

Enrolling your dependents

If you have dependants (i.e. a spouse/common-law partner, or children) you must sign them up at the Student Accounts office within 30 days of their arrival in Canada to avoid a $500 penalty charge on top of their coverage fee.

Making a UHIP claim

If you require medical attention, present your UHIP card and a UHIP claim form (PDF) to the doctor.

Both you and the doctor complete the claim form and in most cases, the doctor mails it to the insurance company so that they will be reimbursed for medical services provided to you. Sometimes the doctor will require you to pay the medical fees at the time of treatment. If this happens, mail the completed UHIP claim form with your receipt for payment to the insurance company and you will get a refund for the medical services provided to you.

Exemption from UHIP

If you can prove coverage under one of the pre-approved plans, you will not be required to participate in UHIP.  Show proof of this plan to the Student Accounts office for a refund of UHIP.  Visit the Student Accounts website for details if you now have Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage.

If you have health care coverage in a plan other than the ones listed at the above website and would like to apply for an exemption, you must first enroll in UHIP and pay the required premium, then undertake the exemption process within 30 days. If your application for exemption from UHIP is approved, you will be refunded any UHIP premiums you have paid, minus any claims you have made against the plan. Learn more about exemption.

Travel insurance plans are not considered for exemption.

Federation of Students (FEDS)/Graduate Student Association (GSA) Health & Dental Plan

As a registered full-time student at the University of Waterloo, you are covered by the Federation of Students (FEDS)/Graduate Student Association (GSA) Health & Dental Plan. This insurance plan covers medical services that the UHIP plan does not. Visit the health insurance's website for undergraduate and graduate coverage details.  You can also visit the Health & Dental Plan Office in Health Services room 1006 with any questions about the plan.

Your FEDS/GSA Health & Dental Plan premium is part of the incidental fees you pay each term.

You can print your coverage card from the health insurance's website.

Manual self-enrolment

If you are an undergraduate student in a part-time term, or studying full-time, but not taking 3 on campus courses in a term, or are a graduate student on an inactive term or on a co-op term, then if you want this coverage you have to self-enrol during the change of coverage period for that term.

Enrolling your dependents

If you have dependants, you will likely want to enroll them in the FEDS/GSA Health & Dental Plan.  You can enrol your dependents online on the health insurance's website.  All enrolments must be done by the Change-of-Coverage Period.

Making a FEDS/GSA Health Plan claim

If you pick up prescription drugs at a pharmacy that has a drug agreement with the FEDS/GSA Health & Dental Plan and you present your Pay Direct Card along with your WatCard, the pharmacist will charge you 20 percent of the cost of each prescribed medication. They will deduct the 80 percent that is covered by the plan and bill the insurance company directly. The pharmacy located on the lower floor of the Student Life Centre will not charge you more than $10 to fill each prescribed medication.

If you take your prescription to a pharmacy that does not have an agreement in place with the insurance company, you will have to pay the full price for your prescription then submit a claim form to the insurance company, along with an original copy of your receipt, for reimbursement. You submit claims for other eligible medical expenses in the same way.

Emergency medical expenses under $200 which occur outside of Ontario or Canada while you are covered by the FEDS/GSA Health & Dental Plan will be covered. Submit your original medical receipts with an out-of-province/out-of-country claim form for reimbursement of expenses that are not covered by UHIP. There are special procedures you must follow if you incur emergency medical care expenses outside the province or country in excess of $200.

Exemption from the FEDS/GSA Health & Dental Plan

You can apply for an exemption from the FEDS/GSA Health & Dental Plan, during the Change-of-Coverage Period, if you have comparable coverage under another health plan.  UHIP does not cover what this supplementary health plan covers.

Comparing your health insurance plans

You need to be covered by both the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) and the Federation of Students (FEDS)/Graduate Student Association (GSA) Health & Dental Plan because each plan covers different medical expenses. A breakdown of the most common expenses covered by each plan is provided below:

Comparing your health plans
Medical expense UHIP FEDS/GSA health & dental plan
Hospital visits Yes No
Doctors appointments Yes No
Surgery Yes No
Prescription drugs No Yes
Dentist appointments No Yes
Optometrist appointments No Yes
Eyeglasses/contact lenses No Yes
Vaccinations No Yes

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