Health Insurance & Accessing Health Care Services FAQ

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 help you prepare for your arrival as well as address information relating to the health insurance coverage you will receive as a CBU student provided by Guard.Me International Insurance.

If yes, make sure any pre-existing health conditions are addressed as it may take several weeks to see a doctor in Nova Scotia.

It is recommended that you take enough medication from your country of origin to have coverage for at least two months.

If you need to see a healthcare professional before you receive your insurance card you will be required to pay upfront. It is recommended that you visit your dentist and doctor for check ups prior to coming to Canada.

In Nova Scotia and in Canada in general, you cannot make an appointment with a specialist directly. You will need to visit a clinic or family doctor for a referral.

CBU uses Guard.Me International Insurance. insurance plans are designed to be used by international students, therefore the benefits reflect the needs of international students should a medical emergency arise.

Students health insurance coverage runs from September 1 (or the date they arrive in Canada if after September 1) to August 31 of the next year. Students who begin their studies in January or May are enrolled in the coverage until August 31.

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.’

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.

You must take your insurance card with you whenever you visit a hospital/healthcare professional or you will be asked to pay upfront. Whenever possible, students must call before they see a healthcare professional to determine the amount of coverage that is available to them. For some, services can be limited.

If you forget your insurance card, you will be required to pay for the costs associated upfront. It is important to keep all receipts to submit to for reimbursement of eligible fees. Download the app on your phone to make submitting receipts easier.

Eligible expenses are those expenses that qualify for coverage under the policy conditions of the plan. An exclusion is something that does not qualify for coverage under your plan, for example injuries due to alcohol and drug abuse. health insurance will cover up to 30 travel days outside of Canada. Please note there is no coverage in your home country.  

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

A pre-existing condition are injuries or illnesses that began in the 90 day period prior to the policy start date. Chronic-ongoing conditions are long term or permanent conditions that can be stabilized by adhering to a medical routine such as medication, a special diet or regular checkups.

Pre-existing conditions are not covered by For example: 

  • If you have thyroid disease and were diagnosed at home, your ongoing treatment and medication would not be covered by 
  • If you become pregnant more than 30 days before you leave home, your prenatal care will not be covered by
  • If you are diagnosed with an ongoing condition while in Canada, will cover costs to stabilize your condition but ongoing treatment and medication would not be covered covers up to a 30 day supply of medication for new and emergent conditions, it does not cover refills or medications required for maintenance of an on-going chronic condition.

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 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

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.

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 reimbursement. 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.

Mental illnesses are health conditions that disrupt a person’s thoughts, emotions, relationships and daily functioning. 

Students have access to’s keep.meSAFE program which provides 24/7 access to mental health support.

 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 offers free and confidential services with Personal Counsellors on campus. Appointments can be made in person, 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.

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