GSA Health & Dental​ Insurance Plan

Insurance Relationship

The medical cost in Canada is very expensive. Example: Semi-private ward in hospital: $260/day. The best way to handle it is to buy insurance.

As students, we don't need to negotiate with insurance companies directly. Since we're not familiar with insurance companies, insurance products, whether the price is reasonable and so on. Instead, the related organization or group has already prepared the corresponding insurance services in advance.

According to the following figure, GSA insurance involves three different organizations, namely Providers, Brokers, Student Groups.

Providers: Providers are insurance companies. Many insurance companies offer a wide range of insurance products. The insurance companies associated with us are

Brokers: Brokers play a role as a bridge. They combine the corresponding insurance products of each insurance company and recommend them to different customer groups.

Customers don't have to know which insurance companies to go to when they reimburse medical cost. They just need to send the bill to the broker, and the broker will transfer them to the appropriate insurance company. The broker associated with us is

Student Groups: If only a few people buy the insurance, the cost of insurance will be very high. However, when a lot of people buy it together, everyone's price will be cheap. The insurance we buy is always associated with a group, i.e., graduate students.

Insurance List

Graduate students usually buy 2 insurances:

  • GSA Health Insurance Plan
  • GSA Dental Insurance Plan

The above 2 health insurances are so called “extended health”. The official website of GSA Insurance Plans:

Cost of GSA members:

Cost of the family of GSA members:

GSA Health Insurance Plan

GSA Health Insurance Plan provides coverage for those cost that UHIP cannot reimburse, such as prescription drugs. Therefore, those reimbursements will be handled by GSA Health Insurance Plan. Usually, the prescription drugs and UHIP non-reimbursed vaccines can be reimbursed 80% of the total cost by the GSA Health Insurance Plan.

Health benefit:

  1. Prescription Drugs and Vaccinations: Up to 80% coverage, $3,000 maximum per policy year
  2. Accidents & Emergencies: Ambulance service, travel accident, dental accident, and accidental death & dismemberment
  3. Health Practitioners: Physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and more
  4. Medical Equipment: Crutches, wheelchair rental, hospital-type bed, and more
  5. Diagnostic Services: Lab tests, x-rays, and ultrasounds used to diagnose an illness and performed in a commercial lab


  1. Eye Exam: $50 per policy year
  2. Independent Specialists: 30% off prescription eyeglasses, up to $75
  3. Clearly: 10% off contact lenses, 25% off eyeglass frames
  4. LASIK MD: Save up to $200 on laser vision correction

Travel: This is very important for those students who publish papers during graduate studies and need to go to other countries to attend international conferences. For more information, see

  • Note: it does not cover the medical cost in the home country of international students.
  1. Vacations: 120 days per trip and up to $5,000,000 per lifetime
  2. Trip Interruption: $5,000 for trip interruption
  3. Exchange & Internship Students: Travel health coverage for the duration of an academic exchange or internship, plus for the first 120 days of the trip and for 120 days after the end of the exchange or internship
  4. Trip Cancellation: $1,500 for trip cancellation

GSA Dental Insurance Plan

GSA Dental Insurance Plan offers various dental coverages, including teeth cleaning, repair and other services. Your Plan will cover at least 70% of your dental costs.



  1. Dental Coverage: $750 per policy year for dental visits
  2. Dental Accident: Repair/replacement of natural teeth damaged through an external accidental blow to the mouth
  3. Studentcare Dental Network: Studentcare Dental Network members offer 20% to 30% off dental services

Empower Me

Empower Me (Student Assistance) – Mental Health and Wellness Support


Graduate students at McMaster University have access to mental health and wellness service through Empower Me. Empower Me has a number of professionals with various domains of expertise, including psychology, psychotherapy, social work, nutrition, etc. You can access services in person or via telephone or videoconference. Empower Me is a confidential support service available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Enroll & Opt-out


All graduate students must buy insurances, and the university will automatically charge relative fees at the beginning of the academic year. The specific insurances graduate students need to buy are as follows:

  • Graduate students without TA or RA in lieu:
    • UHIP
    • GSA Health Insurance Plan
    • GSA Dental Insurance Plan
    • Student Assistance
  • Graduate students with TA or RA in lieu
    • UHIP
    • GSA Health Insurance Plan
    • CUPE Unit 1 Dental Plan
    • Student Assistance
  • Visiting student
    • UHIP Premium
    • GSA Health Insurance Plan
  • Divinity college student
    • UHIP
    • GSA Health Insurance Plan



The insurances are mandatory for all students. You can opt-out only if you have already purchased the same insurance. Common scenarios are as follows:

  1. If you are a TA or RA in lieu, you are a member of the CUPE 3906. Members in CUPE have CUPE Unit 1 Dental Plan. You will automatically opt-out GSA Dental Insurance Plan.
  2. If you’re a part-time graduate students, you have a full-time job off-campus. Usually, large companies buy insurances for their employees, and you don't need to buy GSA Health & Dental insurance. The university will charge those fees anyway, and students need to contact to opt-out. Please refer to
  3. If you can join the similar health insurances with your family members, you also can opt-out like part-time students.

Here is the guide about how to prepare the documents for opting-out:

Change-of-Coverage Period

The Change-of-Coverage Period is the period at the beginning of the term when you can either opt out or enrol your spouse and/or dependent children in the GSA Health/Dental Insurance Plan. Period for different situations:

  1. If you start school in September, the period is from Sept. 7 – 30, 2021.
  2. If you’re a new student starting in January, you can opt out or enrol your spouse and/or dependent children between Jan. 6 – 31, 2022.
  3. New students registering in May can enrol themselves, their spouse and/or dependent children between May 1 – 31, 2022.

Attention: Graduate students are required to ensure their mailing addresses are correct on the MOSAIC ( for Studentcare to mail cheques to them. For any lost or misplaced cheque, Studentcare will issue another cheque less the $25 administration fee. Besides, the request to opt out any insurance plan must be made in the current policy year and Studentcare will refund the relative fee by a cheque to the student once it is approved. Any late request to reissue lost or misplaced cheques will be rejected, as accounts will be reconciled and audited after each policy year.

See a Doctor

University clinics

Campus dentist

Campus optical

Off-campus Dental, Vision and so on

Although the above 2 clinics are on campus and convenient, they are not in “Studentcare network”. You cannot get enough reimbursement. For example, you can only reimburse 70% of the dental cost in Campus dentist.

Find clinics in Studentcare network:

  1. Go to Studentcare website for GSA:
  2. Select "Dental“ or "Vision" or other services from the drop-down list under the heading "STUDENTCARE NETWORKS Find a Professional" on the upper right corner of the page.
  • The dental clinic designated by the GSA Dental Insurance Plan is called “Studentcare Dental Network member”.

For general dental clinics, the GSA Dental Insurance Plan can reimburse 70% of the total cost. However, for “Studentcare Dental Network member”, the cost can be reimbursed for extra 20% to 30%. Thus, it can reimburse 90% to 100% of the total cost.

Prescription Drugs

McMaster University Centre Pharmasave

  • Official website:
  • Location: Student Center Room 109B.
  • If you need to buy prescription drugs as being told by a doctor in the student wellness center (SWC), you can go to this place as your first choice. The reason is that you can directly reimburse the cost while visiting. This will save the process of reimbursement by yourself.

Shoppers Drug Mart: As you can see from the name of the store, it is more than just a supermarket, but also a regular pharmacy.


Rexall: Rexall is a pharmacy and retails some of the daily necessities. It is also in Studentcare Pharmacy Network, where you can get the following benifits:

Other pharmacy locations: Mobile app " eCare@Pharmasave ":


All insurance services are provided by Sunlife, except that “Travel” in GSA Health Insurance Plan is provided by Blue Cross. Broker is the Studentcare. There are 3 methods for reimbursement:

Method 1: If a pharmacy accepts pay direct card (e.g. McMaster University Centre Pharmasave, Rexall, etc.), you can avoid the reimbursement process by showing that card. You only need to pay the part of the cost that cannot be reimbursed (usually 20%). Pay direct card can be found at

Method 2: Take a picture of all the documents (prescriptions, invoice and so on) by using “Studentcare” App and fill in the reimbursement information.

Method 3: Fill in the claim form and mail the relevant documents to the address on the form:

Need more help?

Studentcare website is a good place to start

Call Member Services at 1 866 358 4434

  • Member services is unique to our GSA plan
  • Please do not call SunLife (our insurance provider) as they will not know the specifics of our plan

Visit Ashley or Mona at the GSA Main Office (Mon-Thurs 10am - 1pm)

Send your questions to