International Student FAQ: Health Insurance & Accessing Health Care Services

As an international student at CBU, you will receive health insurance provided by Guard.Me while in Canada. Prior to your arrival in Nova Scotia, there are a number of health care precautions and routine processes you should take into consideration. We’ve put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to provide further information relating to your health insurance coverage that will help you prepare for your arrival.



As a current International Student studying at Cape Breton University, you will automatically be enrolled in CBU’s Guard.Me Health Program as of September 1, 2021.  These plans are mandatory for Students who are studying in Canada and a condition of studying at CBU.

1.) If you are not in Canada, the Guard.Me Health Program is not available to you and you MUST OPT OUT between September 21st-September 24th 2021 by completing the Out of Canada Waiver in order to receive a credit to your Student Account.

As an International Student studying at CBU, you are required to retain the SAFE program. The premium for this program is non-refundable.  Please watch for more information in the coming weeks regarding SAFE.

*Should you to travel to Canada, it is your responsibility to contact the International Student Office prior to your arrival in Canada.

*Please note that charges for your Guard.Me plan will not be removed from your account until after the opt out period has closed.

YES.  The intent of the CBU Guard.Me program is to cover emergency health conditions that first begin after you buy your insurance coverage, and does not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Examples of pre-existing conditions include:

  • If you have thyroid disease and were diagnosed at home, your ongoing treatment and medication would not be covered by Guard.Me. 
  • If you become pregnant more than 30 days before you leave home, your prenatal care will not be covered by Guard.Me.
  • If you are diagnosed with an ongoing condition while in Canada, Guard.Me will cover costs to stabilize your condition (up to a 30 day supply) but ongoing treatment and medication would not be covered.

Please refer to the limitations and exclusions section of the policy for more details.

It is recommended that you bring enough medication from your country of origin to provide treatment until you return to your home country.

CBU provides support for all students dealing with mental illness. Mental illnesses are health conditions that disrupt a person’s thoughts, emotions, relationships and daily functioning. 

CBU offers, which provides 24/7 mental health services to all International Students. keep.meSAFE  is an innovative Student Support Program (SSP) which helps students by promoting early intervention and 24/7 access to mental health support. The program helps students manage their mental health so they can fully participate in academic life and complete their studies.

keep.meSAFE is the first support program to use linguistically and culturally matched licensed clinicians, providing students a welcoming place where they are comfortable to seek help.

CBU also offers free and confidential services with Personal Counsellors. Appointments can be by phone or through email to discuss a variety of issues including anger, parenting, grief, depression and anxiety, relationship issues, family conflict, time management, stress, financial concerns and couples counselling.

Appointments are available Monday through Friday during office hours as well as Monday evenings. To book an appointment, contact Angela MacKinnon at or 902-563-1639.

The CBU Guard.Me program commences on the earlier of September 1st or the date you arrive in Canada, to August 31st of the next year. Students who begin their in-Canada studies in January or May are enrolled in the coverage until August 31st of the same year.

The insurance fee is automatically charged to your student account when you register for classes.

Family members can be added to your plan for an additional fee. Please contact an International Student Advisor for more information.

Your insurance card and all policy information will arrive in your CBU email two weeks after the start date of classes with the subject line ‘TRAVEL INSURANCE.’

If you forget your insurance card, you will be required to pay for the associated costs out of pocket.  It is important to keep all receipts to submit to Guard.Me to assess your eligibility for coverage.  Download the Guard.Me app on your phone to make submitting receipts easier.

The quickest and easiest way to obtain a new insurance card is to log into your account. You will need your policy number in order to create an account which can be obtained by contacting an International Student Advisor. Once your account has been created you can login, download your ID card and print the card.

YES.  You must show your insurance card whenever you visit a hospital or healthcare professional or you will be asked to pay out of pocket for the services.  Whenever possible, students must call Guard.Me when being admitted to a hospital, or when you require major medical treatment or surgery.

Eligibility means those expenses that qualify for coverage under the Guard.Me insurance policy.  An exclusion is something that does not qualify for coverage under your plan.

NO. The Guard.Me policy includes emergency travel coverage up to 30 days worldwide.

The Excursion program provides short-term travel up to 30 days worldwide, and 15 days to the USA.

Neither of these programs cover you while you are in your Home Country.

After residing in Nova Scotia for a full 12 months (without leaving the province for more than 30 days), you can apply for coverage with MSI by calling 1- 800-563-8880.

For minor issues such as cold, flu, headaches or minor injury, please visit your local clinic. For emergencies such as a serious accident, broken bones or serious injury, please visit the nearest emergency room.

The closest emergency room which is open 24/hours is located at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, 1482 George St., Sydney, NS. Other emergency rooms are located in the surrounding areas including Glace Bay, North Sydney and New Waterford but hours of operation are subject to change.

The Max Bell Health Centre is located on campus which can address minor non-emergency illnesses. The centre is staffed with a doctor, nurse and physiotherapist. Other clinics in the area are:

 Sydney Family Practice

196 Kings Road, Sydney

(902) 567-0010


Lawtons Drugs

196 Bentick St




Glace Bay Walk In Clinic

35 Sterling Road

Glace Bay, NS

(902) 849-4601


Dr. Virick Walk In Clinic

336 Kings Road

Sydney, NS

(902) 539 6049

You do not need to make an appointment at a clinic but it is recommended that you contact the clinic by phone before you go to confirm hours of operation. To avoid long wait times at a clinic, you can speak to a doctor within minutes from home through

If you are not able to drive and do not need an ambulance, you can call a taxi and ask for a receipt. You can submit the receipt for assessment of coverage eligibility. If you need an ambulance, call 911 and one will be sent to your location immediately.

Ambulance charges are separate from hospital charges and the bill will be sent to you for payment. Eligible ambulance charges can be submitted to for reimbursement.

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