RECEPTIONIST: British Columbia Medical Services.
STUDENT: Hi. I’m an international student at the University of British Columbia, and I need to register for health insurance.
RECPETIONIST: You mean for a BC Services Card?
STUDENT: Um...I guess so.
RECEPTIONIST: The BC Services Card gives you access to public health care here in British Columbia. Are you here on a student visa?
STUDENT: Yes. I’m starting my first year next week.
RECEPTIONIST: Wonderful. Welcome to Canada! So, do you have a student ID yet?
STUDENT: I have a temporary resident number, but I don’t get my student ID card until Monday.
RECEPTIONIST: No problem. As long as you have your temporary resident number, I can start processing your application. So, I just need a few details...
RECEPTIONIST: What is your name, please?
STUDENT: Min Hee Kang.
RECEPTIONIST: OK... Let’s start with your family name first.
STUDENT: It’s Kang. K-A-N-G.
RECEPTIONIST: And your first name?
STUDENT: Min Hee. M-I-N H-E-E.
RECEPTIONIST: Is that one word or two?
STUDENT: Either way. I usually write it as two.
RECEPTIONIST: Great. And your temporary resident number?
RECEPTIONIST: Got it. And your status is a student... Ms. Kang, how long is your visa for?
STUDENT: I have a four-year visa.
RECEPTIONIST: And when did you arrive?
STUDENT: Two weeks ago.
RECEPTIONIST: Hmm... Then it’s going to be three months until we can issue you a BC Services Card. It takes three months of living here for you to establish residency. So, you can expect to receive your card in the mail around mid-June.
STUDENT: But what if something happens before then and I need to see a doctor?
RECEPTIONIST: Your university should have explained this already... Um, well you need to get private insurance from your home country until then. You know, like a travel health insurance plan.
STUDENT: Is that hard to get?
RECEPTIONIST: I really can’t say since I’m not familiar with the insurance plans available in your country. But from what I know, it’s possible to enroll in a plan online.
STUDENT: OK. So when my BC Services Card arrives, am I covered for all health care?
RECEPTIONIST: Basic services, yes... But not dental care, non-essential services...
RECEPTIONIST: Cosmetic surgery, travel vaccinations...things like that.
STUDENT: What about acupuncture?
RECEPTIONIST: Nope. That’s considered alternative health care, and you’d have to pay for that out of your own pocket.
STUDENT: That’s too bad. And how about prescriptions? I have to take medicine regularly for migraine headaches. Will that be covered?
RECEPTIONIST: Absolutely. But you might want to have your doctor back home send your medical records to your new doctor in Canada. It’ll save you a lot of time and unnecessary tests.
STUDENT: Um... How do I do that?
RECEPTIONIST: Once you find a general practitioner...er, a family doctor...here in Vancouver, then you just have your doctor back home mail or fax your medical records.
STUDENT: I can do that. Do you have any advice on finding a...what was it...general practitioner?
RECEPTIONIST: You can ask around and see if anyone knows of a good one. But you won’t be able to see one until you receive your BC Services Card anyway, so you might as well wait.
STUDENT: All right.
RECEPTIONIST: Oh, and with the card you’ll receive a booklet that includes a directory of all registered GPs...um, that’s an acronym for general practitioners...in the area.
STUDENT: Good! That will be very helpful. Thank you.
RECPETIONIST: My pleasure. So, we’ll just finish up with your application... (fade out)