What is Guard.me?
Guard.me is a private insurance plan contracted by SFU that can provide coverage before international students are eligible for BC MSP. However, all incoming international students are automatically enrolled in this expensive plan and must manually opt-out to prevent being automatically re-enrolled in subsequent semesters. Below is an outline of the coverage you will receive while at SFU.
Basic Medical Coverage:
British Columbia Medical Services Plan (BC MSP) covers medically required services. By law, all BC residents are required to enroll in BC MSP. Coverage begins at the start of the third calendar month after your arrival (e.g. if you arrive in BC at any time in August, MSP coverage begins on November 1). If you hold a current TSSU appointment, you can enroll in SFU’s group MSP coverage and SFU will pay your MSP premiums. Note that your application will be back-dated to the start of the month in which you apply (i.e. SFU will cover MSP back to that date only). Be sure to maintain an up-to-date study permit.
GSS Plan: (ihaveaplan) A private plan run by the GSS that is charged to your student fees. This covers extended health, dental, and vision care. You may elect to opt-out if you have an alternative extended health care provider. For coverage info see the GSS page.
TSSU Plan: (Pacific Blue Cross) A private plan run by SFU that TSSU members may opt into. SFU covers part of the cost of this plan while you have an active TSSU appointment. See here for more details.
How to opt-out of Guard.me
Once you arrive in BC you are eligible to enroll in BC MSP. Coverage begins at the start of the third calendar month after your arrival (e.g. if you arrive in BC at any time in August, MSP coverage begins on November 1). SFU has introduced a mandatory insurance plan for international students called Guard.me, which shows up on your student fees. You can get some of those fees back; here’s how:
If you have an active TSSU appointment:
SFU will pay 100% of your MSP premiums if you hold a current TSSU appointment and apply for enrollment in the SFU group plan at the start of that term. Your application will be back-dated to the first of the month in which you apply. The form is available here, and should be scanned and emailed to email@example.com.
If you are an international student enrolled in Guard.me, indicate that you are enrolled when you email firstname.lastname@example.org with your MSP application. SFU will then automatically:
- at the end of the month in which your MSP takes effect, pay you 85% of the cost of Guard.me for the months you were in it
- send you a letter which you can use as proof to opt-out of Guard.me
You will then need to upload the letter to www.guard.me/sfu to complete the opt-out process and potentially receive an additional refund.
This benefit was won through a lengthy TSSU grievance, and each year it provides nearly $25,000 of support to international graduate students.
If you are not in a TSSU appointment:
You will need to complete an individual enrollment in MSP form (form 102), along with any required documentation.
If you are an international student enrolled in Guard.me: following the submission and processing of your form (typically a few weeks), contact Health Insurance BC (HIBC) at 1-800-663-7100 and request a letter confirming your enrollment. Once you receive this letter, upload it at www.guard.me/sfu to opt-out and receive a refund. If you receive your MSP card before the letter arrives, you may use that instead to opt-out.